MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Tuesday, June 25, that she will not dignify the rude remark made by Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr against her.
Robredo made the statement in response to reporters’ questions on Tuesday, who asked if she had seen Locsin’s tweet calling her “boba” or stupid, for criticizing his recent decision to cancel all courtesy diplomatic passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Oo. Nabasa ko iyong tweet late last night kasi ang daming tumatawag. Sa akin naman, ever since, hindi ako pumatol kapag usapang bastusan. Sa akin, hindi naman ako nababawasan noon,” Robredo said on Tuesday.
(Yes. I read the tweet last night because a lot of people were calling me. On my part, ever since, I’ve never been one to dignify rude talk. It won’t diminish me in any way.)
“Alam ng tao kung ano ang tama at ano iyong mali, kaya hindi ko na iyon papatulan (The people know what is right and wrong, so I won’t dignify that with a response anymore),” added the Vice President.
While Locsin had berated her for supposedly speaking on something she knew nothing about, the top diplomat had also apologized to the Vice President for calling her stupid.
Asked by a reporter if she accepted Locsin’s apology, Robredo said she was not taking it personally.
“Iyong sa akin nga, wala naman iyon sa akin. Iyong sa akin, hindi iyon personal…. Iyong tao iyong maghuhusga (It’s a non-issue for me. It’s nothing personal…. Let the people be the judge),” she said.
Robredo had been on the receiving end of Locsin’s tirades after she criticized his decision to cancel the courtesy diplomatic passports of former Filipino diplomats. This comes after former foreign affairs chief Albert del Rosario was barred entry to Hong Kong. (READ: Locsin defends canceling courtesy diplomatic passports)
Cancellation ‘not discretionary’
Robredo explained on Tuesday that her criticism of Locsin’s order was based on the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.
The Vice President, who is also a lawyer, said Section 7 of RA 8239 lists the government officials who may be issued a diplomatic passports.
She added the law states diplomatic passports may be canceled only if the holder is either a fugitive from justice, has been convicted of a criminal offense, or when a passport was acquired fraudulently or was tampered with.
Robredo argued the cancellation of diplomatic passports is “not discretionary,” which means the provisions of RA 8239 should not be superseded by a decision of a public official – the same point raised by Del Rosario.
“Hindi siya discretionary. Ang sinasabi, walang cancellation kung walang hearing at hindi binigyan ng pagkakataon na makapagdepensa iyong kinanselan,” said Robredo.
(It’s not discretionary. It says that there should not be any cancellation without any hearing or opportunity given to the person to appeal the cancellation.)
“Parang lahat na elements na iyon, wala. So sinasabi ko na baka hindi padalos-dalos iyong pagdesisyon, kasi mayroon tayong batas na sinusunod. At iyong desisyon ng kahit sinong public official, hindi naman masu-supersede kung ano iyong provisions ng batas,” added the Vice President.
(All of those elements seem to be missing. So this was why I said perhaps the decision was made in a rush, because we have a law to follow. And the decisions of a public official should not supersede the provisions of the law.) – Rappler.com