By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. made a surprise appearance at the Czech Republic National Day celebration Saturday night where he joined the almost 500 guests who feasted on the overflowing Czech’s pilsner beer which became this year’s theme for the festivity.
In a tweet on Sunday, Locsin admitted that he consumed half of the mug filled with cold Czech beer during the ceremonial toast with Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Jana Šediva, and called the event as “one of the most fun national days ever.”
“Sip? I didn’t stop until she (Šediva) stopped at half the mug. I will never concede in that category. One of the most fun national days ever,” the DFA secretary said in a comment on a photo showing him and the Czech envoy while doing the ceremonial beer drinking.
Called “Czech Beer Night”, Šediva said the Embassy opted to deviate from the usual conduct of national day celebrations and instead celebrate it in a “unique” way involving many facets of its ties to the Philippines. Beer drinking is deeply embedded in both the Czech and Filipino cultures.
The Czech envoy acknowledged Locsin’s presence and asked him to climb up the stage, to which the secretary said, “I don’t have a set speech because this is the last place you want to give a set speech.”
The Czech National Day event also coincided with the 30th anniversary commemoration of the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful revolution led by students and dissidents that occurred on November 17, 1989. The movement transformed former Communist Czechoslovakia into what is now a democratic state of the Czech Republic.
In an impromptu speech at the Czech National Day, Locsin recalled the moments of the non-violent uprising in that Eastern European country that took place more than three years after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Locsin was then President Corazon Aquino’s speechwriter.
He referred to writer Vaclav Havel, one of the central figures in the Velvet Revolution, as his “competitor.”
“I remember the Velvet Revolution and at that time I was speechwriter for President Aquino and we had our People Power Revolution and for me, Vaclav Havel was my competitor. Anybody who could write that well was someone I have to beat with the same activity…,” he said.
Havel would later serve as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until its dissolution in 1992, and then as the first President of what is now the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003.
Locsin’s presence at the Czech National Day came a bit of a surprise to some following his recent unsavory tweets against countries which voted in favor of an Iceland-sponsored resolution to launch an independent probe into alleged crimes committed under the Philippine government’s “war-on-drugs” campaign.
The Czech Republic was among the 18 other countries that supported the resolution which was approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in July 2019.
During the UNHRC voting, 15 countries abstained while 14 others opposed the resolution.
In the aftermath of the narrow voting, Locsin downplayed the effect of the Iceland Resolution and even threatened those countries who supported it with “far-reaching consequences.”
“Actually no effect but for those who voted to insult us, the consequences will be far reaching,” Locsin said in one of his tweets posted in July this year.
Early last month, the foreign affairs chief said in a tweet that he had prohibited representatives of his department from attending the celebrations of countries that favored the Iceland resolution.