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Teddy Boy: A Sad Specimen

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has done it again.

This time Locsin, popularly known as Teddy Boy, did not tweet about the tactics used by the Nazis, including adopting Hitler’s “Final Solution” in solving the problems confronting the Duterte administration. He didn’t even re-tweet admiring the Nazi management of the German economy, saying that the fascists knew how to fix “broken Germany … So they knew something more than killing Jews.”

Of course, it no longer surprises me that he is parroting the talking points of Duterte who himself has invoked the Nazis in his war against the proliferation of drugs in the Philippines, when he said on September 30 of last year, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews, there are 3 million drug addicts…I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

But when Locsin called Vice President Leni Robredo “boba” (dumb) for her comments disagreeing with the former on the cancellation of diplomatic passports, he crossed the line of decency. His “Will someone please do her the kindness to give her a brain?” statement smacks of idiocy. His diatribe was uncalled for no matter whom he was directing it to.

His childlike attitude and lack of respect towards the vice president make Locsin a poor loser who cannot accept differences of opinion. And to think that he is a diplomat, a statesman – and an Atenean at that – makes him, borrowing a phrase from conservative American writer, George Will, an “inexpressibly sad specimen.”

The backlash against Locsin for his “boba” comment was remarkably swift, forcing the usually acerbic diplomat to apologize.

Locsin apologized to Robredo in a tweet: “I don’t mean to be disrespectful Ma’am, you are just missing a 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…I apologized. Offered intellectual help. Sincere about it.”

Allow me to critically dissect his apology, which I found to be self-serving, insincere and sarcastic.

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful…I respect you for that accident of fortune.” Of course, he was disrespectful to the vice president. If I call him “bobo”, it’s not because I admire him, it’s because I don’t respect him at all as a person and as a diplomat.

“You are just missing a heartbeat away from the Presidency.” What does his apology have to do with Robredo’s being the rightful successor to Duterte, in the event that he can no longer perform his duties for whatever reasons? Why even bring it up? Was he thinking of his self-preservation, in case Robredo becomes president?

“But there are things that require a measure of study & thought. Please ask me next time.” I found this to be preachy and condescending. Was he trying to imply that Robredo does not study and does not know how to analyze situations? With all his rantings, who is he anyway for her to ask him for his advice?

“Offered intellectual help.” Again, he just reiterated that Robredo is “boba”. What kind of apology was this when he just said in so many words what he was apologizing for?

Simply put, Locsin’s apology was nothing but a PR stunt. Although I cannot read what’s in his mind and heart, a more ominous explanation might be that he has the habit of criticizing someone without thinking twice or thrice of the consequences – definitely not the trait of a great statesman. A still more disturbing explanation is that we have a secretary who is becoming a repulsive and impulsive public figure.

Filipinos of whatever political color should be embarrassed by Locsin’s remarks and, worse, by his shallow apology given his stature in foreign affairs.

The late President Corazon Aquino, a person of integrity and who appointed Locsin to be her press secretary, should have taught Locsin something about decency and respect.

Locsin may be intelligent or a prolific journalist, but he definitely has a flaw that compels him to insult and disparage others who don’t agree with him, like Robredo. It appears that he is living according to the famous quip by Mark Twain: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”

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