MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte does not want to be defended before the United Nations, the country's incoming ambassador to the international body, Teddy Locsin Jr., said Wednesday.
Duterte has criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the organizations' human rights monitors for their censure of his bloody war on drugs. He has also made similar verbal attacks against the United States and the European Union.
Locsin, an ANC anchor, recalled the President as telling him during their most recent conversation: "Don't defend me. I don't need to be defended. Just do it for the country."
In an interview with "Headstart," Locsin said Duterte offered him the post during a meeting in Bahay ng Pagbabago, the President's official residence, last Sept. 15.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, a former colleague at Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Office (ACCRALAW), arranged the meeting, according to Locsin.
"I had been approached already and when the president asks you—and he’s convincing in that laconic, short way of talking because it was like he was not offering a great job or anything," he said.
"I think his style was to say ‘this is the situation we are all in, and join me. I’m not saying defend me; join me in this.’ What do you do?," he said.
Locsin said Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay would always tell him that he was being considered for the UN post whenever the country's top envoy was a guest in ABS-CBN.
"I would always [shrug it off] or else I change the subject because, well, I’m really comfortable with my life. I like it here," he said.
Locsin is expected to assume his new position next year when the tour of duty of the country's current US envoy ends next year.