A screenshot of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. during his interview with German journalist Arnd Henze (Photo courtesy of ARD Capital Studio Berlin)
MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday night defended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. from criticism over his interview with a German journalist on the 2016 Adolf Hitler remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte that drew the ire of the German government.
"The Department views as unfortunate the biased representation by Mr. Arnd Henze of ARD Capital Studio Berlin of his interview with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. at the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the new building of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin," the DFA said in a statement.
"The video posted by Mr. Henze on his blog is incomplete and misleading. It failed to show Mr. Henze's deliberate attempts to provoke Secretary Locsin into giving controversial remarks," it added.
Henze, in a tweet on Friday, said the German Foreign Ministry has summoned the country's acting ambassador in Berlin to make it clear "that the remarks by (Secretary Locsin) were totally unacceptable."
The first part of Henze's interview with Locsin on Monday features a portion of Duterte's speech in 2016 where he said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. I would like to slaughter three million drug criminals."
Showing the video clip to the visiting top diplomat, Henze asked whether the Chief Executive "refers to Adolf Hitler as a role model for his policy?"
Locsin answered the German journalist, saying "he (President Duterte) just mentioned it, I don't think he's a role model for his policy."
Pressing for a categorical answer, Henze stressed Duterte's words, relaying that "he said he would like to do the same. He would like to slaughter three million drug criminals like Hitler massacred three million Jews."
A visibly irked Locsin replied with a similar response. "I don't agree with you. If you want to look... if you want to say it, say it yourself. But I certainly won't," he told Henze.
"I know, there it is, he said that," Locsin said, referring to the video of Duterte.
"I don’t know what he meant by that. I said the same thing. I myself said the same thing before he even said it,” he added and the interview ended.
A few days after the Chief Executive drew parallels on what happened during the Nazi regime and his anti-drug campaign in 2016, Duterte acknowledged that he erred in referencing the genocide of six million Jews under Hitler.
“I would like to make it (clear) now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of six million Jews murdered by the Germans," he pointed out.
"I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community," he said in October 2016. (PNA)