MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. remains fit for public office despite calling Vice President Leni Robredo “boba” (foolish).
"If he (Locsin) is not fit, he would not have been appointed there. He is fit of course," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo replied when asked during Palace briefing if Locsin is still fit as the country’s top diplomat.
Locsin criticized Robredo over the latter’s statements against the cancellation of diplomatic passports of former government officials but eventually said sorry to the Vice President for “being disrespectful”.
"He already apologized. That speaks a lot, when you apologize," Panelo said.
Panelo said Robredo could have been mistaken or was not properly advised by her staff in her remarks questioning Locsin’s decision.
"Mali lang siguro iyong kanyang interpretasyon (Her interpretation might have been wrong)," he said.
Panelo said while Locsin may be known for his colorful language, it does not diminish his competence as the country's top diplomat.
"From the point of view of the outside world, okay iyong mamang ito, kasi (this man is okay, because) he admits his mistake and makes an apology to the offended person. Napakahirap mag-admit ng (It's hard to admit a) mistake and he should be credited for that by apologizing," he said.
Meanwhile, Panelo maintained that former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario misused the privilege given to him when he used his courtesy diplomatic passport for his recent personal trip to Hong Kong.
“He created his own problem so why blame the government for what happened to him,” Panelo said in the same briefing.
“Unang-una (first), we cannot even question the authorities [of Hong Kong] in the same way that we would not want to be questioned when we deny entry to any stranger to our country. Eh sovereign ‘yan eh (That’s sovereign),” Panelo added.
Panelo, also Presidential Chief Legal Counsel, said del Rosario may have misused the diplomatic passport issued to him by using it outside of its intended use.
“In other words, when you file a case dapat alam mo ang magiging (you should know that consequence (is) adverse,” Panelo said. (PNA)