Malacanang on Tuesday came into the defense of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. following his controversial remark against Vice President Leni Robredo, calling her “boba” (dumb).
In a press briefing, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Locsin’s colorful language and his way with words do not reduce his competence of serving as the country’s top diplomat.
“He is known for his colorful language, just like the late Senator Miriam was; in the same way that the President is also known for that. But this doesn’t diminish his competence to act as Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Panelo said.
The Palace official also noted that the DFA chief is also like President Rodrigo Duterte who is known for public cursing and off-the-cuff remarks.
“Our President has the same style but you can see the effect. Look at the effect when he cursed Mr. Obama, the world looked up to him as an emerging world leader,” said Panelo. “Sometimes those remarks can do a lot.”
To recall, the DFA secretary on Monday lashed out on Robredo on Twitter over her criticism on the cancellation of diplomatic passports, but quickly apologized.
“That’s no way for a gentleman to speak to a lady. Apologies,” said Locsin, who is known for his unfiltered language online. His remark against the Vice President drew flak online, with several expressing disappointment at his conduct as a public officer.
However, Panelo backed Locsin amid criticism on his “boba” remark saying the top diplomat should be credited for admitting his mistake.
“It’s very difficult to admit your mistake and he should be credited for that by apologizing,” said Panelo, adding that the DFA chief may have made the remark out of “exasperation.”