UN urged to reject Locsin as Philippine envoy

Paterno Esmaquel II
UN urged to reject Locsin as Philippine envoy
(UPDATED) The Philippines' former envoy to the UN, Lauro Baja Jr, tells Rappler it is unlikely for the UN to grant this petition against Teodoro 'Teddyboy' Locsin Jr

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Thousands of online petitioners have urged the United Nations to reject the nomination of former Makati representative Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr as Philippine representative to the UN.

The Philippines’ former envoy to the UN, Lauro Baja Jr, however told Rappler it is unlikely for the UN to grant this petition.

The petition states, “We respectfully request that Mr Teodoro Locsin Jr’s appointment as permanent envoy of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN be denied.”

“His blatant justification of anti-Semitic lingo of the President of the Republic of the Philippines makes him a racist, clearly showing his prejudice against the Jewish people,” the petition added.

The petition was crafted by Jov Quio of Dublin, Ireland, on the advocacy platform change.org.

The petition has at least 9,500 signatures as of early Thursday evening, October 6.

It was addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Protocol and Liaison Service.

Rappler is still trying to reach Locsin for comment as of posting time.

CNN Philippines reported on Thursday, October 6, that Locsin vowed to be “more careful” with his tweets. He said his daughters also urged him to “stay out of Twitter.” 

In his interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, Locsin said he “never made an anti-Semitic” remark against the Jews “as a race.” 

“What I said was, not everything the Nazis did was wrong. That was partly a private joke,” he added.

The petition against Locsin came after his previous tweets on the Jews and the Nazis went viral. Locsin earlier wrote on Twitter, “You may find this hard to believe, but the Nazis were not all wrong, give or take killing millions of the wrong people. Keep an open mind.”

Locsin tweeted this on August 25.

Critics brought up this tweet, among others, after President Rodrigo Duterte said he will “be happy to slaughter” 3 million drug addicts as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “massacred 3 million Jews.”

Duterte made this remark on September 30, as he lamented how some members of the international community had portrayed him as “a cousin of Hitler” in criticizing the spate of killings related to his war on drugs.

Ex-envoy to UN explains

In any case, Baja said of the petition against Locsin, “Don’t expect too much.”

In a phone interview with Rappler on Thursday, Baja explained that normally, the UN only checks the nominees’ credentials, and whether the credentials have been signed by his or her head of state. 

If these two requirements have been met, the UN secretary-general is likely to accept the nomination.

It is normal practice for ambassadors to present their credentials to their receiving states before they can begin their work.

Is being “anti-Semitic” enough basis for the UN to reject a diplomat’s nomination?

Baja answered: “I doubt it, because if the credentials are properly signed by the head of state, they will just look at it. They will not look at the defects of the domestic process. But there is no harm in sending petitions to the protocol office.”

He added that Locsin can be a good ambassador “if he understands and appreciates the UN.”

Still, Baja added, “The use of non-traditional diplomatic language will have no place in the UN.” 

Locsin is a news commentator for Philippine broadcast giant ABS-CBN. There, he has a nightly opinion segment called “Teditorial.” 

He served as congressman for the 1st district of Makati City from 2001 to 2010. He also worked as speechwriter and spokesperson for then President Corazon Aquino.

He was editor-in-chief of the Philippines Free Press and publisher of newspapers The Daily Globe and Today– Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.