Will Teddy Locsin Jr. lay low on Twitter as Philippines’ new top diplomat?

October 12, 2018 - 2:16 PM
Incoming DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (UN Phot/Kim Haughton)

Permanent representative to the United Nations Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. has been appointed the country’s new top diplomat.

A former lawyer and broadcaster, Locsin is also known for his active and occasionally controversial Twitter account. He announced the new post as Foreign Affairs secretary on the microblogging platform.

Locsin’s outgoing predecessor Alan Peter Cayetano recently declared his intention to run as representative of Taguig City and will be considered resigned once he files his certificate of candidacy.

The lawyer-turned media practitioner-turned public official has received congratulatory messages from both supporters and critics of the administration he serves.

Locsin on Twitter

Locsin was appointed envoy to the United Nations in September 2016. Some have questioned his fitness for diplomacy throughout the years, citing his use of strong language and expletives in voicing his opinions on his Twitter account.

Locsin’s social media conduct has been noted by media outfits. Spot.ph in 2016 published two articles compiling tweets where he used strong language.

A streak of expletive-laden tweets from Locsin delivered in a 24-hour span was documented in October 2016.

He was also scored by women’s rights advocates in February 2017  for remarking that the severity of rape in legal proceedings should be decided on a case-to-case basis.

He has also offered a polarizing stance on certain issues, hinting at progressive beliefs despite criticism of his conduct. He has been criticized for use of the word “bakla” (gay) in the past as an insult, despite publicly supporting same-sex marriage.

Locsin has also been known to engage with friends and acquaintances who are public figures.

In July 2018, he tweeted words of praise to actress Kris Aquino, the daughter of Locsin’s former late boss Corazon Aquino, but questioned why she chose to date her ex-boyfriend Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

When not engaging in political debates with other Twitter users, he is also known to document his hobbies. He recently tweeted excerpts from a collection of poems and songs written by late singer Leonard Cohen.

He previously pledged to “tone down” his explosions on Twitter following his appointment as UN ambassador in 2016. However, he still occasionally uses expletives in his tirades and debates. He gave a strongly-worded warning against supporters of Ferdinand Marcos’  Martial Law on the 46th anniversary of the late dictator’s declaration in September 2018.

From law to media to politics and to the UN

Trained in law at Harvard University and Ateneo de Manila University, Locsin first worked as a lawyer at the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Office and later as executive secretary to Don Enrique Zobel of the Ayala Corporation.

Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the UN
Ambassador Teodoro Locsin Jr., delivering the sponsorship statement before the UN General Assembly on the resolution to declare June 16 as International Day on Family Remittances. (UN photo)

He entered public service when he became a speechwriter and presidential legal counsel for the late Corazon Aquino. He also worked as a speechwriter for later presidents Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He has hosted a number of news programs on the ABS-CBN television network in the past and previously was a writer and editor for a number of publications, including The Philippine Free Press and Today Newspaper.

He returned to politics as an elected official in 2001 when he was elected representative for the first district of Makati City, serving until 2010.