President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday gave marching orders to newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin to “be truthful.”
“I was there at the oathtaking yesterday and the conversation was like this: I am honored with your appearance today, and there is only one message I would like to give you -- be truthful, nothing more,’” Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters in a briefing.
Duterte swore Locsin into office along with former Army Chief Rolando Bautista as the new Social Welfare Secretary.
Panelo said Duterte and Locsin did not get to talk much during the celebration held in Malacañang since the latter has to fly to Belgium to represent Duterte in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union Summit.
Panelo pointed out that the chief executive appoints members of his Cabinet “on the basis of truth and competence.”
Asked if Duterte issued the order to pursue an independent foreign policy, Panelo replied: “(Locsin) was supposed to leave yesterday for Belgium to represent the President, so there was no time to have any discussion on the subject he wants to respond to.”
“I think the new DFA (secretary) knows exactly the marching orders of the President. There has been no change from the time secretaries have been appointed to the Department of Foreign Affairs -- from former Secretary (Perfecto) Yasay (Jr.) to former Secretary Alan (Peter Cayetano) and to him.”
Locsin replaced former Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who is running as representative of Taguig in the 2019 elections.
Before Locsin was appointed as UN representative, he served as Presidential legal counsel and speechwriter to former President Corazon Aquino.