Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. once again threw diplomacy out of the window when he hurled an expletive against an Inquirer reporter for her live tweets on the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit coverage.
The top diplomat reacted when reporter Jhesset Enano shared a picture of him in the closing ceremony of the event sitting with world leaders.
She wrote, “LOOK: Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. @teddyboylocsin sits with other world leaders at the closing ceremony of the 35th Asean Summit in Thailand. President Duterte appears to have skipped this event, too. #Asean2019 @inquirerdotnet”
Locsin retweeted her post and pointed out that it was the last event, even though Enano wrote that it was the closing ceremony.
“Uh, did you get the p**angina I sent you? That’s the last event, purely ceremonial and short. Jokowi had left, Mahathir too,” the envoy said in a tweet.
According to Inquirer, Locsin had previously retweeted Enano’s post as he defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s absence with the response:
“One event you s*et and just ceremony. If he didn’t catch the plane’s takeoff at 7 p.m. he’d be stuck. He left at 6 p.m. after Asean-Japan Summit, bilats (bilateral) with Japan, 3 hours of East Asia Summit — since he spoke first, he stayed ’til last spoke as a courtesy. Others stepped out.”
The news outlet said that Enano was assigned to cover Duterte at the summit.
Locsin’s tweet earned the ire of social media users, including journalists, who called him out for exhibiting such a behavior which a Filipino has tagged a form of “harassment.”
“Report Teddy Boy Locsin’s attack on Jhesset today, and all the comments following suit. I reported them as targeted harassment,” a particular Twitter user said, referring to the “report tweet” option on the platform.
“Hi, sir! Kailangan niyo po ba talaga maging ganyan kabastos?! She’s just doing her job as a journalist,” Marlon Ramos, another reporter from Inquirer, said to Locsin.
Pia Ranada, a reporter from Rappler who is banned from covering Duterte in public events, pointed out that Enano had only stated the facts.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) similarly condemned the envoy’s tweet, calling it “uncalled for” and “a shame” since Locsin used to be a practicing journalist himself.
“The tweet simply stated a fact and insinuated nothing. It is a shame since [Locsin] is fond of boasting about his journalistic past,” NUJP chair Nonoy Espina said, as quoted by reports.
Following the criticisms, Locsin said that he would have given Enano “a pass” if he knew she is a lady despite her Twitter picture clearly showing her identity.
“Had I known she was a lady I’d have let it pass but I watched her president stick it out start to finish but for 1 photo op, enduring statements far longer than his own because he has the breeding to listen to those who heard him. Others stepped out before and after they spoke,” the envoy said.
Locsin continued to hit Enano by saying that “real journalists have manners” and then went on to defend Duterte’s absence once more.
“He can’t bring himself to doze off the minute the meeting starts like leaders of great powers do—elegantly folding their hands on their laps, closing their eyes til shaken awake for their turn to speak,” he said in another tweet.
He can't bring himself to doze off the minute the meeting starts like leaders of great powers do—elegantly folding their hands on their laps, closing their eyes til shaken awake for their turn to speak. He won't even when I tell him I can sit in his place since he's spoken. https://t.co/rGcJWevE58
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) November 6, 2019
Critics nevertheless continued to blast him, saying that the point was his use of foul language in the first place.
“The issue was your unnecessary use of foul language. Why not just say ‘President had left to…’ instead of spewing your ‘p**angina’ at our colleague who’s just doing her job?!” Inquirer reporter Marlon Ramos said.
A look at the diplomat’s conduct
Locsin is known for his vitriol-filled remarks on Twitter, where he also issues orders as the Foreign Affairs secretary.
When he was assigned to become the country’s top diplomat, concerns were immediately raised about his use of language and profanity on social media, where he has a public profile.
“DFA? Well, that’s diplomacy out the window. Aanhin mo katalinuhan kung ang ugali naman ay magaspang at ang prinsipyo ay pinagbibili? Malamang hindi ito maintindihan ni Locsin… wikang Pilipino kasi,” a Twitter user wrote before.
An online lifestyle and features website previously published an article that noted how Locsin would reply to social media users with derogatory words such as “hijo de p*ta,” “f*ck face” and “fat b*tch.”
The same website also reported that the top diplomat had once delivered a streak of expletive-laden tweets in a span of “less than 24 hours.”
Being a government official, he is expected to follow Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The law was specifically enacted to “promote a high standard of ethics in public service.”
Under the code, government officials are supposed to conduct their duties “with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.”