MANILA – Malacañang on Sunday defended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s move to choose a Chinese candidate over a Singaporean bet during the recently-concluded election for Director-General position of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Locsin merely based his decision on the competence of the candidates vying for the WIPO post.
“Sec. Teddy Boy Locsin (was) voting for a person or representative (who is) competent and should be given the job. (It has) nothing to do with whatever nationality,” Panelo said in an interview with DZIQ.
Panelo’s statement came after Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishan took a jab at Locsin for choosing a Chinese bet instead of supporting an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) candidate from Singapore.
Singapore’s Intellectual Property chief executive Daren Tang won the WIPO election held in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Tang earned 55 votes against Chinese candidate Wang Binying who merely garnered 28 votes to steal the nomination for the WIPO Director General post whose six-year term will begin on October 1, 2020.
Tang will replace Australian Francis Gurry though the former’s victory will still have to be confirmed during the WIPO General Assembly in May.
In a tweet on Thursday, Balakrishnan said Locsin should have expressed support to Tang.
Locsin, responding to Balakrishnan’s statement, said in his Twitter account that Singapore’s victory was “under strong Western pressure.”
He added that he voted in favor of Wang because “friend in need is friend indeed.”
Panelo said Locsin voted for Wang because he believed that the latter is deserving.
Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of Locsin’s preference, Panelo said: “The President does not have to know about anything that Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin does.”
“Ang pakikialaman ni Presidente, ‘yung mga importanteng bagay. ‘Yung mga ganoong ordinaryong trabaho ng isang Cabinet member, he does not have to know (The President is only concerned about important things. But he does not have to know about the ordinary task of a Cabinet member),” Panelo added. (PNA)