Veteran television and newspaper commentator Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to be the Philippines’ permanent ambassador to the United Nations or UN. This was relayed to the media by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar early Sunday afternoon. He will succeed career diplomat Lourdes Yparraguirre in the position.
Locsin, a speechwriter to the late former President Corazon Aquino and then a three-term congressman for Makati City, currently appears on ABS-CBN News Channel’s The World Tonight for his segment “Teditorial” where he gives his views on the hottest news of the day. Apart from that, he is also an active user of microblogging site Twitter where his off-the-cuff remarks on all sorts of topics has oftentimes put him at odds with other popular personalities.
His appointment comes amidst escalating tensions between the Duterte administration and the UN. It began in June when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that he was deeply disturbed by statements made Duterte weeks before his inauguration. “I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” he said at the time.
Two months later, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime chastised the Duterte government for the ballooning number of casualties in the War on Drugs. In a statement, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said that the rise of drug-related killings “contravene the provisions of the international drug control conventions” and “do not serve the cause of justice.”
In response to the biting criticisms, Duterte last month threatened to have the Philippines leave the UN – a statement that his spokespersons eventually walked back. Last week, he refused to have a meeting with Ban during the recently-concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Vientiane, Laos.