MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After one tweet too many, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr was locked out of his official Twitter account on Monday, March 9, as the social media platform said the Philippine official violated its rules.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary General Renato Reyes confirmed this with Rappler, saying the group flagged Locsin’s account over a tweet which contained violent remarks that suggested Bayan members be “shot.”
Reyes was referring to Locsin’s tweet posted on Thursday, March 5, where he tagged members of the group as “communists.”
“These are fucking communists. You shoot them. You don’t listen to them,” Locsin said, as he commented on a news piece where Bayan stated its position on the termination of the Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement.
As of Monday, the tweet was no longer available.
Reyes told Rappler Bayan reported Locsin’s tweet as the group “had to take action” against the harmful remarks.
“We welcome this action by Twitter. For so long, Locsin thought he could get away with anything. But when he threatens harm on activists who are merely expressing their views, we will have to draw the line and fight back,” Reyes said in a Facebook post sharing the development.
Teddyboy Locsin, DFA secretary, has his Twitter account locked for this offensive and threatening tweet accusing Bayan as communists that deserve to be shot. Will not share his abusive tweet here. It is enough that we fight back against those who wish to silence dissent. pic.twitter.com/MgMIGl6ujv— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) March 9, 2020
Locsin’s account is still active as of posting time.
In a copy of an email to Bayan detailing its actions, Twitter said Locsin will have the option to take actions it requested to have his account unlocked. These actions include deleting the flagged tweet which violated Twitter’s rules, having account features temporarily “limited,” or updating “specific information” about the account.
Back on Twitter: The temporary lockout lasted for about 6 and half hours only. At 3:26 pm, Locsin posted his first tweet – which focused on overseas Filipino workers – after being unable to access his account.
A few minutes later at 3:28 pm, Locsin commented on a report about Twitter’s actions against his account, saying, “See that smile? Lighten up my friend.”
The Philippine official then posted some 15 tweets in the succeeding hour.
Reyes said Bayan had “no problem” if Twitter were to allow Locsin to access his account again, though the Philippine official should take down the “threatening tweet” that called for violence against the group’s members.
“We are not afraid of engaging him. Pero may rules of engagement dapat. Yun lang naman. Lahat tayo may boses. (But there are rules of engagement. That’s all. We all have a voice.) He should be at least tolerant of views that are different from his,” Reyes said.
Locsin’s Twitter account has long been the subject of controversy as he had frequently posted outlandish statements and policy pronouncements on the platform.
A few months earlier in November 2019, Locsin was in hot water after blasting expletives at an Inquirer reporter.