FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., whose claim to fame in his senior years is that he has tweeted more than Donald Trump, is a disgrace to our country, to our diplomatic corps and to President Duterte. The President must not allow such a scoundrel to remain in office a second longer.
His tweet against China is such a gaffe that if he has an ounce of integrity left, he should resign.
Can you imagine any official of any country in charge of its relations with the world insulting in such a vulgar manner another country: “How politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F**K OUT. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attention on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province …” And to use such expletives against China, the nation that in our pandemic crisis immediately provided us with 2.5 million vaccine doses, compared with that from the Covax vaccine alliance totaling only 500,000 doses?
Doesn’t he care at all that with our top diplomat being so vulgar that the rest of the world will think that Filipinos haven’t heard of “tact,” “civilized manners” and “diplomacy”? US President Theodore Roosevelt popularized that adage in diplomacy: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Locsin speaks too vulgarly yet carries not even a toothpick.
Unfortunately, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. lost his usual nerve, probably afraid of Locsin’s tweeting prowess, and meekly commented: “We will not interfere with Secretary Locsin’s right to free speech.”
What? Locsin has the right to disgrace us Filipinos in the eyes of the world, that we Filipinos can’t argue rationally, especially on a territorial dispute that involves four other nations, that we are capable only of hurling curses?
Not even North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, nor leaders of a few African countries just emerging from the Stone Age, can compete with Locsin’s crudeness. The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who cleverly said he smelled sulfur in the United Nations podium where President Bush had stood, had infinitely more sophistication than Locsin.
Locsin even continued his sleazy analogy in his next tweet, implicitly saying that China is impregnating his boss Duterte, who is willing enough to do so: “But [Duterte] doesn’t have a uterus. If he tried to give birth to a Chinese province it would be a ball of crap at best.” Locsin even implicitly threatens Duterte that if he does give birth to “a Chinese province,” “it will be the end of the regime.”
That claim, that Duterte’s is trying to make the Philippines a “province of China,” is exactly the Yellows’ propaganda line, desperately being propagated through such crude devices as tarpaulins hung on the city’s overpasses announcing such to Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ hysterical Facebooks posts.
The big problem with Locsin is that he spends more time tweeting like some teenager instead of studying this complex problem of the South China Sea disputes, and in his intellectual laziness swallowed hook, line and sinker the past Aquino 3rd’ regime’s inane narrative against China, which the US got it to adopt.
He even pretends to be witty when he tweeted: “What is so hard to understand about Duterte’s UN declaration that the Arbitral Award made all maritime features Philippines’, no one else’s.”
Duterte did not say that. What he said was that “[T]he Philippines affirms that commitment in the South China Sea in accordance with Unclos and the 2016 arbitral award.” But the award did not make all maritime features the Philippines’. The award even emphasized that nothing in its ruling means its finding over four countries’ claims of sovereignty in the Spratlys, which includes territorial seas and EEZs generated from the Spratlys as an archipelago.
It is so shameful for our country’s foreign secretary to display such ignorance over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, right now the most important foreign relations issue confronting the country. Not only China and the Philippines claim the maritime features there, but also Vietnam, Taiwan and even Malaysia.
When Locsin twitted, referring to China: “O…GET THE F**K OUT”, he obviously didn’t know that if ever China vacates the Spratlys, the Vietnamese will rush in, most probably with their battle-hardened troops, and so will the US-trained Taiwanese Marines stationed at the nearby Taiping, and even the Malaysians with their Special Forces which took over five reefs commando-style in 1986 and 1999.
In his Sinophobia, Locsin is ignorant of the fact — as Antonio Carpio with a Vietnamese wife wouldn’t tell him — that it is Vietnam that has the most number of occupied islands and reefs in the Spratlys, totaling 22 as against China’s 8 (including Scarborough). Even Whitsun Reef, where Locsin claimed Chinese “maritime militias” massed last month, is mainly controlled by Vietnam which has four fortifications there, as against China’s two.
But I am probably wrongly accusing Locsin. What would you think is the mind of 72-year-old who has a full-time high-pressure job, yet who sends 100 tweets a day?
I would say there is something seriously wrong with this person. Based on the information on this Twitter account, Locsin sent out an amazing 272,500 tweets since he joined it in April 2011. That means an average of 75 tweets per day. This is an average, which means it is likely when he was over-excited that he could have sent 100 tweets or more per day.
Locsin beats the most infamous but retired tweeter Donald Trump, who sent out 57,000 tweets since he joined it in May 2009 to January 9, 2021 when Twitter.com shut it down. That’s just 18 tweets per day. US statistics say average tweets per month by an American is 4.4.
What kind of person would send 75 tweets a day? Studies show that it takes at least 2 minutes to mull over a topic, write it down, reduce it to within the 280-character limit for tweets, and finally to post it. The arithmetic says Locsin is spending 2.5 hours every day in his tweeting addiction. And we taxpayers are paying Locsin to tweet on such things as what he thinks of the Gates couple’s divorce, that he’s glad this TV series is continuing, boasting how witty he is, or insulting an ally?
Especially after Trump’s obsessive tweeting, there has been a plethora of psychological studies on the profile of excessive users of Twitter and other social media. While social media has become not just a tool of democracy but of social cohesion and communication, there is a dark side to it, when people spend an inordinate time on it. Among the psychologists’ findings:
Twitter is addictive, which explains why Foreign Affairs department sources claim that even during very important meetings, Locsin is often tapping like mad at his cellphone, making his staff having to repeat what they say.
Twitter inflates one’s ego, because of the feeling that one’s views are being read by thousands of people, even hundreds of thousands of “followers,” in Locsin’s case, a mammoth 678,200 followers. For a septuagenarian approaching retirement like Locsin, with his well-known huge ego since his Cory days everyday losing air, that ego-boost would be ecstatic.
Twitter forces the user to dumb down his views or give only a one-sided view of issues because of the 280-character limit. No wonder, Locsin horrifically simplifies the complex South China Sea dispute, to propagate the lie that China just wants to grab all of the islands there.
The nastier a tweet, the more viral it becomes, with feedback provided, since Twitter displays the number of people who “liked” it and “retweeted” it. This prods the tweeter to tweet more nasty things. Locsin’s vulgar post on China for instance had 4,800 retweets and 9,600 likes. No doubt he was jumping up and down for joy over that.
Locsin is in the wrong business. For a person to have posted 272,500 tweets or 75 tweets daily — on his own, without a staff doing it, as celebrities do — means he has the immense ego and temperament celebrities seeking fame usually have.
Indeed, Locsin’s 272,500 tweets easily beats Coco Martin’s 90,800. Vice Ganda’s 23,700, Angel Locsin’s 12,000, Alden Richards’ 9,500 tweets, Maine Mendoza’s tiny 4,129, or even those of that social media creation Justin Bieber who has posted only 31,300 tweets.
Duterte must give Locsin the job he enjoys doing and he is most useful in. He is as suited to the foreign secretary’s job as Manny Pacquiao would be as education secretary. Locsin has an amazing 678,000 followers of his Twitter account, more than the combined followers of PTV 4 (165,700 followers), PNA (26,000 followers), presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., (52,000), and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar (19, 000).
Locsin’s account would be a huge machinery to deliver the President’s messages to the country. Andanar and Roque would make great foreign affairs secretaries, with the former having the traits of a tactful and intelligent, behind-the-scenes diplomat while the latter has studied in detail the South China Sea disputes.
Give Locsin a fancy title his ego needs like “Social Media Czar.” Just tell him to shut his mouth on the South China Seas disputes as he has no idea what it is about, and for him to promise never ever to use expletives against any country. Duterte must also whisper to Locsin so he’ll grab the job: “Teddyboy, you’ll be as powerful as Donald.”