Daniele Bosio, Italy’s ambassador to Turkmenistan, was arrested at a water fun park near Manila at the weekend following a tip-off from a local child rights group, Bahay Tuluyan.
Leila de Lima, the Phillipines justice secretary, confirmed on Monday that Bosio was in detention after being caught in the company of three boys, aged 8 to 12 years old.
The Italian newspaper, Corriere, reported on Tuesday that the three boys told police that Bosio had taken them to his hotel room where “he took a bath in the tub” and had given them “clothes and sweets”.
Bosio was on holiday in the Philippines when he was detained.
Two women from Bahay Tuluyan, who were at the same water park on Saturday, became suspicious when they saw a foreigner with three young children and later alerted authorities.
Bosio reportedly told police that the boys were street children he met in Manila and that he obtained permission from their parents to bring them to the water park, although he later admitted this wasn't true, Corriere said.
In the Philippines, prosecutors officially lay charges in the court.
De Lima said on Monday that Bosio would be unable to invoke diplomatic immunity because he was not stationed in the Philippines.
Bosio, who was suspended from his job following his arrest, is being held in a jail in the town of Binan, 39 kilometres (24 miles) from Manila.