By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has offered the Foreign Affairs portfolio to permanent Philippine representative to the United Nations (UN), Teodoro ‘Teddyboy’Locsin Jr. after it became apparent that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will be running for Congress in the midterm polls next year.
“I don’t know if baka ayaw niyang i-announce. I don’t have his permission. Mahirapkasi if I give out his name tapos tatangapin niya [I don’t know, he might not want it announced.
I don’t have his permission. It’s difficult if I give out his name then he’ll be forced to accept],” Duterte said during a press conference upon arrival in Davao from his visit to Bali, Indonesia.
Duterte revealed his choice when he asked his special assistant Christopher Go publicly to contact Ambassador Locsin and get confirmation.
Friday morning, Locsin tweeted: “I was asked, I said yes; but love UN, the many friends & intellectual companions I made. But I didn’t say no when asked as I didn’t when he told me I was UN Ambassador. If my Tito Chito Ayala trusted him implicitly; how can I not. Still UN work is likes harpening a blade every day.”
Asked for a categorical choice between being the Philippine representative to the UN or Foreign Affairs Secretary, Locsin tweeted: “I will be Secretary of Foreign Affairs which includes the UN; I will have a direct hand until the architecture of sovereign independence in all matters of state that my team started to erect is remitted. Talent that doesn’t exist outside DFA will complete it.”
Locsin, a lawyer by profession, previously served as presidential legal counsel and speech writer of then President Corazon Aquino. He holds a Master of laws from Harvard Law School and served as Makati City representative from 2001 to 2010.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III described Locsin as an “excellent choice” to replace Cayetano.
“One of the best appointments ever. Excellent choice,” Sotto told reporters of his close friend he described as a “fighter.”
With Locsin at the DFA, Sotto said the Philippines“cannot be bullied.”
Locsin, Sotto said “will always square his actions and circumscribe his passions within due bounds.”
Sotto expressed confidence that Locsin will get the nod of the Commission of Appointments (CA). “He will definitely be confirmed [by the CA],” he said.
Senator Sonny Angara took to Twitter to praise Locsin “whose brilliance/erudition is well known.”
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Locsin is “well-suited” for the DFA post as he is vocal about issues and speaks his mind passionately “even if it’s something that many people might not want to hear.”
“I am hoping that Ambassador Locsin will be able to cut through the diplomatic double-talk in order to foster deeper, more meaningful ties with our allies and further advance Philippine interests across the globe,” he said in a separate statement.
Senator JV Ejercito also welcomed Locsin’s appointment saying the agency “will certainly benefit” from the latter’s experience in public service.
“As our country navigates a world facing trade wars, the resurgence of protectionism, violent extremism, transnational crimes and territorial disputes, I am confident that he can ably represent the interests of the Filipino people before the international community. The global challenges that we face are indeed formidable but so is our incoming Foreign Affairs chief,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito also lauded President Dutertefor his choice of Locsin.
Faeldon to head Bucor
Meanwhile, Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator NicanorFaeldon will take over as chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) after Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa filed his certificate of candidacy for senator.
“The president has chosen Nicanor E. Faeldon to replace Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa as director general of the Bureau of Corrections,” Justice Secretary MenardoGuevarra revealed Friday.
Prior to his OCD appointment, Faeldon had a tumultuous stint as Bureau of Customs commissioner.
“The DOJ (Department of Justice) has interposed no objections to the proposed appointment of Mr. Faeldon, and is now seeking the favorable endorsement of the Civil Service Commission as part of the requirements under the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013,” Guevarra added.
The BuCor is an attached agency of the DOJ.
Guevarra also appointed two new officials at the Bureau of Immigration (BI), to fill the posts vacated by Officer-In-Charge Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Marinas.
“I have designated Atty. Jose Ronaldo P. Ledesma as OIC-Associate Commissioner, and Atty. Grifton Medina as acting chief, Ports Operations Division (POD) , to replace Mark Red Marinas who will run in the forthcoming local elections in Muntinlupa City,” Guevarra said Friday.
Marinas held two posts at the BI as OIC Associate Commissioner and chief of the Ports Operation Division.
Prior to his appointment, Ledesma has been chief of the BI’s Center for Training and Research.
Ledesma has also previously served as the BI’s OIC Commissioner.
Medina had been the BI’s chief personnel and head of the Committee on Good Governance. (With reports from Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola and Jeffrey Damicog)