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Regional News

Philippines’ top diplomat calls vice president ‘stupid,’ apologizes

MANILA (The Philippine Star) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called Vice President Leni Robredo “boba” or stupid after she slammed the Department of Foreign Affairs’ decision to cancel courtesy diplomatic passports issued to former officials and diplomats.

Teodoro Locsin
Leni Robredo

“Robredo warns against cancellation of diplomatic passports of former gov’t officials HEY, BOBA, THAT IS PRECISELY WHY I HAVE ORDERED THE CANCELLATION OF ALL COURTESY DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS BECAUSE I REFUSE TO SINGLE OUT DEL ROSARIO,” Locsin said on Twitter.

He added, “Will someone please do her the kindness to give her a brain? Here I am trying to do what’s right, which is to restrict diplomatic passports to real existing working diplomats so as not to devalue them abroad — and not pass them out as favors to retirees & friends.”

Locsin, however, immediately apologized to Robredo for being “disrespectful.” He called the vice president the “rightful successor of DU (President Duterte) under the Constitution.”

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful Ma’am. You are just a missing heartbeat away from the Presidency. I respect you for that accident of fortune. But there are things that require a measure of study and thought. Please ask me next time. At your service, Ma’am,” Locsin tweeted.

“That’s no way for a gentleman to speak to a lady. Apologies,” he added.

“She is our Vice President. I have apologized. She is the only successor to the President. Elections alone determine who takes what post; not public sentiment. Besides she really won the election. 200,000 is huge,” he said.

In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected separately. Robredo is with the opposition.

Opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday said Locsin should be held accountable for his comments.

In a series of tweets, Pangilinan said Locsin’s act is a violation of the Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“His insult and mockery were very unprofessional and he should be made accountable for it,” the senator added.

Pangilinan said that even if Locsin already apologized, the senator “still strongly condemns his rudeness, mocking and insult against Vice President Leni Robredo in social media.”

“This kind of mocking and rudeness has no space in a civilized society, especially coming from the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs that is the chief office for diplomatic affairs,” Pangilinan added.