‘I never lie’: Locsin defends his straight-shooter style of diplomacy


Posted at Aug 01 2020 05:46 AM

Foreign Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. believes that envoys who think diplomacy "is to be subtle, actually have no talent for it." Emmanuel Dunand, AFP/file

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Friday said he won't stop being candid on social media, even though some critics find that his straightforward approach clashes with his role as the country's top diplomat.

Locsin and Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein earlier traded tweets over their respective governments' claims over Sabah, a territory east of Malaysia’s northern Borneo and southwest of Sulu, an exchange experts say could affect bilateral relations.

In an online interview with former journalist Malou Talosig-Bartolome, Locsin said that despite his controversial behavior online he doesn't actually "know how to do social media", but just wants his style of diplomacy to be "forthright".

"I'll tell you one thing about my diplomacy -- and it is appreciated by the United Nations -- I never lie," Locsin said. "In diplomacy, you never lie to each other."

He added that envoys who think diplomacy "is to be subtle actually have no talent for it."

"The best diplomats never lie, never confuse. Real diplomacy proceeds by clarity. Only the amateurs and the untalented make it seem complicated,” he said.

The outspoken government official has earned notoriety for using condescending, sometimes vulgar, language on Twitter.

Locsin once called Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles a "moron" after the latter called for prayers for Vice President Leni Robredo.

Robredo was also referred to by Locsin as "boba" (idiot), after she questioned the Department of Foreign Affairs' decision to cancel all diplomatic passports of former government officials.