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Locsin returning to UN?

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Locsin returning to UN?
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr attends the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Liverpool, north-west England on December 12, 2021, on the final day of the G7 foreign ministers summit.
JON SUPER / POOL / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — A return to his old post at the United Nations in New York may be in the offing for former foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News channel Friday night, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez revealed having recommended to President Marcos the reappointment of Locsin as the country’s representative to the UN.

“I would definitely like to see him back at the United Nations; I mentioned it to the President. I also mentioned it to Secretary (Enrique) Manalo. Hopefully, he would be there,” Romualdez said.

“He (Locsin) did very well as ambassador to the United Nations. He is very articulate and he can express himself clearly on certain policies that we need to espouse at the United Nations,” he added.

Asked if Locsin is willing to accept his former post, Romualdez said the former secretary jokingly said, “I’d like to be near you.”

“So, if I’m going to be in Washington, it would be nice to have Secretary Locsin not too far away,” added the ambassador.

Locsin served as the Philippine permanent representative to the UN in New York from 2017 until his appointment as foreign affairs chief in 2018.

He has yet to comment on Romualdez’s recommendation.

Manalo, Locsin’s successor to the UN post, was named by President Marcos as the new Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary on Friday.

The Philippine Mission to the UN in New York, in separate Twitter posts, congratulated Manalo on his appointment and expressed gratitude to Locsin for his service at the DFA.

“You flew the flag proudly with honor, distinction, and dedication: A privilege to serve the Filipino people under your leadership,” the mission said of Locsin.

Reform Party, VACC back Rodriguez

The Reform Party of reformist soldiers lamented how some people “could not even wait for the next set of political leaders to assume their respective posts before assailing them with a barrage of harsh criticisms,” citing the bashing of the President’s chosen executive secretary.

“For some sectors to publicly criticize Executive Secretary-designate Victor Rodriguez at this point is an open declaration of their lack of faith in President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,” Reform Party president James Layug said in a statement.

Layug said Rodriguez’s appointment to an extremely sensitive post means that he bears the absolute trust and confidence of the Chief Executive and that allegations of abuse against him “reflect on President Marcos’ sense of judgment and wisdom.”

“It’s just ironic that Rodriguez has not taken his seat yet at the Palace, but his critics are already casting aspersions on him,” he said.

Also expressing support for Rodriguez recently was the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), whose president, Arsenio Evangelista, said criticisms of the Executive Secretary were premature.

“Being the so-called Little President doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be diminutive or small. On the contrary, being an alter ego of the Chief Executive makes you larger than life,” Evangelista said, citing how Marcos’ camp had described Rodriguez as “tireless and disciplined.”

He said he is convinced that Rodriguez’s untainted integrity will make him a good executive secretary, urging everyone to give the latter a chance to prove his mettle by the President’s side.

“It is a tightrope act, but knowing Rodriguez as an honest, respectable and straight  man, he will not make compromises – competence is not enough, integrity will be just as important and will probably be given heavier consideration,” Evangelista said.

Earlier, Layug underscored that the UniTeam of Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte “has the sincere response for continuity, sustainability and predictability in the successful programs of the Duterte administration.”

Included in this commitment is to sustain the former president’s Build, Build, Build and digital infrastructure programs as well as the war against drugs, criminality and corruption, he said. – Jose Rodel Clapano

TEODORO LOCSIN JR.

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