Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin apologizes to VP Robredo for calling her ‘stupid’ in tweet 

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. <i>Photo: ABS-CBN News/Malacañang Palace handout </i>
DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. Photo: ABS-CBN News/Malacañang Palace handout

Twitter-active Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. has once again courted controversy after calling Vice President Leni Robredo “stupid” in a scathing post yesterday, only to quickly apologize for the rant moments after.

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

Boba is the feminine version of the Filipino word bobo, which means “stupid.”

He was reacting to Robredo’s criticisms on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) decision to cancel the diplomatic passports of former government officials. The DFA directive came on Saturday, a day after former Foreign Affairs Secretary and China critic Albert del Rosario was deported from the Hong Kong International Airport despite carrying a recently revalidated diplomatic passport. According to Robredo, the DFA shouldn’t have revalidated the passport on June 18 if del Rosario was not allowed to use it.

“Why was it canceled now that there is a problem? If it really should not be used by a former DFA official, it should have been [canceled] when his term ended. It was the DFA’s obligation to cancel [the passport],” Robredo said in Filipino.

Locsin’s Twitter rant did not end there. He continued to insult Robredo in another tweet, saying: “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.”

Just a few moments later, Locsin took to Twitter again to apologize to Robredo but reiterated that she needs to study the issue more.

“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 & thought. Please ask me next time. At your service, Ma’am.”

He also said in another tweet that he has offered the Vice President “intellectual help.”

In a reply to a netizen who told him to take it “easy,” Locsin apologized once again and said that his tweets were “no way for a gentleman to speak to a lady.”

He also corrected a netizen who praised him for calling Robredo boba and said that it was not right for him to do that.

“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,” Locsin said.

Many were very offended by what Locsin said and continue to react to his “stupid” tweet today.

“Maybe @lenirobredo has struck a nerve earning her the ire and vitriol of Teddy Locsin Jr. That doesn’t give him the right to hurl invectives. Maybe instead of spending so much time on Twitter, he should spend more time working on the DFA’s processes and polishing his language,” Twitter user @wordcaster said.

Human rights advocate Gang Badoy Capati said: “Sir, have you ever used your diplomatic passport while not an incumbent and on a non-official trip? (I have it on good authority that you have.) It might be smarter for you to stay w/in the lines on this one. Boba? Really? You’re not a diplomat. You’re a Duterte appointee.”

Locsin, however, said that he has never used his diplomatic passport during a non-official trip.

To one netizen who described what he said as “unprofessional, ungentlemanly, and unnecessary,” Locsin simply replied, “I apologized. Get over it.”

Locsin is very active on Twitter where he regularly engages with netizens. Sometimes his posts are light, like when he dished love advice to a woman, but they can also be very controversial, like that time he made pro-Nazi tweets.

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