“Don’t defend me before the United Nations.”
This was what incoming Philippine ambassador to United Nations (UN) Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. said in a television interview yesterday, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching order to him.
“He said don’t defend me, I don’t need to be defended. Just do it for the country,” Locsin said in a television interview.
In a speech in August, Duterte said the Philippines might decide to leave the international body after UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Dainius Puras called on the Philippine government to stop the extrajudicial killings of persons linked to illegal drugs only to clarify that it was just a joke.
Duterte later thumbed down a face off with UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon earlier this month.
Locsin said the President’s laconic way of speaking convinced him to accept the job which has been repeatedly offered to him by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
“Everytime Yasay goes to me and says Teddy Boy you know you are being considered for the United Nations and I would always naaa... or else I change the subject because well I’m really comfortable with my life,” he said.
However, last Thursday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdia, a former colleague at ACCRALAW, called him and told him that the President wanted to see him at Bahay Pangarap at 7 p.m.
“We sat there, Bingbong (Medialdia) and I talking about ACCRA, our time there, and Duterte came in. He choppered in from Bulacan, he sat down and talked about a few things, the drug problem etc. and he said ‘don’t defend me, I don’t need to be defended, just do it for the country’, and then he went on and talked about other things like the drug problem again,” Locsin said.
He said Duterte showed him the data he has on the extent of the penetration of the drug trade into local government.
“I was stunned and I said at least in Mexico the cartel had to fight their way to national distribution network, in the Philippines we elect these guys and he would take his turn again and say ‘Don’t defend me, I’m OK, I can take care of myself, just do it for the country,” Locsin said.
Locsin added that Duterte then talked about other things.
Locsin said when the President mentioned for the second time he does not want to be defended before UN, Locsin decided to tell him that he accepts the job.
“When he said it again, I just stood up and said ‘Mr. President, I accept’,” he said.