Duterte to Locsin: ‘Don’t defend me’
MANILA, Philippines— President Rodrigo Duterte has apparently issued a clear directive for the Philippines’ new representative to the United Nations not to defend him before the world body in the wake of his acerbic response to the organization’s criticism of his bloody war on drugs.
Philippine Ambassador-Designate to the United Nations Teddy Locsin Jr. on Monday recounted his one- and so far only- meeting with the President sometime after his appointment, where Duterte briefed him on his job.
“I’ve actually met him only once. It was a short conversation where he just told me what I’m gonna do. “Dont’ defend me, he said. “I don’t need to be defended, okay, and just do it for your country,” Locsin told reporters on the sidelines of the UN’s 71st anniversary celebration at a prominent Manila mall, where he was keynote speaker.
He said he is not scheduled for another meeting with the President yet.
President Duterte has dealt heavy verbal blows on the world body, incensed at the concern that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnés Callamard expressed over the rising death toll in the administration’s relentless campaign against drug pushers and users.
To date, 1,711 “drug personalities” have been killed in anti-drug operations, according to the Philippine National Police. The figure does not include hundreds more killed in vigilante-style slays across the country.
Duterte has called the world body “stupid,” and said “if you are that rude, son of a bitch, then we’ll just leave you.” The Philippines is among the founding members of the 71-year old organization, which came into being in 1945, in the wake of World War 2, to promote international cooperation and prevent future conflicts.
Asked if he sees any negative effect of the President’s choice words for the UN, Locsin said: “Of course not.”
“Have you watched the United Nations? How they talk to each other there? But the thing is, the forum is there for people to talk instead of fighting. And that’s where you thresh out your differences. I think that’s why they put it up,” Locsin said.
Duterte appointed Locsin, journalist, former lawmaker and former speechwriter for the late President Corazon Aquino, in September, replacing outgoing envoy to the UN Lourdes Yparraguirre./rga
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