Only President Duterte can curse – Roque
MANILA, Philippines — Talk about special powers.
Only President Rodrigo Duterte can utter expletives and no one else in his Cabinet, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, revealing a hitherto unknown Palace policy on Tuesday.
“The President’s message is in matters of diplomacy, there is no place for cursing. The President’s message to the members of his Cabinet is only the President can use swear words. Nobody can do the same,” Roque said in an online briefing, when the topic turned to the expletive-laden tweet Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. directed at the Chinese government on Monday.
According to Roque, Mr. Duterte does not want his alter egos using curse words, particularly when it comes to the sensitive field of diplomacy.
Back with a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday, Locsin said “I suddenly realized my friendship with (Chinese Foreign Minister) Wang Yi was on the line so I tweeted my concern about our friendship. That must continue. He’s my idol in diplomacy.”
‘It’s been done’
“It’s been my elusive dream to copy until I attain in mind and manner the elegance of Wang Yi,” he said. “It’s been done; now let’s move on; I just don’t want to lose my friendship with the most elegant mind in diplomacy with manners to match.”
On Monday, the country’s top diplomat told China to “get the f— out’’ of the West Philippine Sea, protesting the continued presence of hundreds of Chinese marine militia vessels in reefs and fishing grounds within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Locsin, a veteran journalist, publisher and congressman before his current stint in foreign service, also likened the Asian power to “an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend.”
‘Mind basic manners’
Without naming Locsin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday responded to the tweet by warning that “megaphone diplomacy can only undermine mutual trust rather than change reality.’’
“We hope that certain individual from the Philippine side will mind basic manners and act in ways that suit his status,” the Chinese official added.
According to Roque, “what Secretary Locsin said were his personal views. I am making it clear, upon express orders of the President, this is not the policy of the Philippines. The President himself made this clear.”
Yet Locsin and his latest online outburst were not without admirers.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said “it pays to have a foreign affairs secretary who is brave and brilliant because it will allow our country to punch above its weight.”
For Sen. Panfilo Lacson, “maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all.”
—WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP
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