Philippine police have detained a vacationing Italian ambassador and filed complaints of human trafficking and child abuse after he was allegedly found in the company of three underage boys at a resort.
Police arrested Daniele Bosio, a diplomat based in Turkmenistan, at a water fun park near Manila at the weekend following a tip-off from a local child rights group.
Catherine Scerri of child rights group Bahay Tuluyan said she and her colleagues saw the foreigner at the resort with three young children aged nine to 12 who were clearly not related to him and alerted the police.
Bosio was being held in a jail in the town of Binan, 39 kilometres from Manila. Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno visited the police station there to ensure that legal assistance was provided to the diplomat.
Romulo Sapitula, the provincial police chief, said their investigation showed that the diplomat took the children to his accommodation in Manila and then to the resort.
According to the police statement, the diplomat told investigators during questioning that the boys "were street children that I had brought from Manila" and they had informed their parents about the trip. The boys told police that the diplomat brought them to his house where he "personally bathed and scrubbed their naked bodies and afterwards gave them money and food".
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not give any details of the specific allegations against Bosio. De Lima said Bosio would be unable to invoke diplomatic immunity because he was not stationed in the Philippines.
De Lima said police alleged Bosio had violated the country's law on anti-trafficking and abuse of children, and prosecutors were investigating.
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press