MANILA – Malacañang on Monday suggested that Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s threatening tweet which reportedly violated Twitter rules should not be taken literally.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this comment after Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. posted a screenshot showing that Locsin’s Twitter account was locked for his tweet.
“Baka style ni Presidente, hyperbole lang. Hindi naman literal ‘yun (Maybe he has the same style as the President, it’s just hyperbole. It’s not literal),” he said in a Palace briefing.
He said Palace has no intention of asking Locsin to tone down his language, stressing that the public should learn to decipher the context of his Tweets.
“Go beyond the language look at the meat, and the essence, and the substance of what he is saying just like the President,” he added.
He emphasized that if Locsin wanted to use Twitter as a means of expressing his opinions, he should be allowed to do so.
“Kung effective siya dun, hayaan mo na (If he’s effective there, let him be),” he said. “Ba’t namin pagsasabihan tigilan mo ‘yan kung effective siya dun (Why would we ask him to stop if he’s effective there).”
He said the government will not meddle into the issue since Locsin is a “responsible government official and effective in his job.”
On March 5, Locsin reacted to an article where Bayan questioned why the Balikatan exercises would push through in May despite the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States.
“These are f*cking Communists. You shoot them. You don’t listen to them,” Locsin said in his Tweet.
Locsin’s tweet is no longer available as it had violated Twitter rules.
Under Twitter rules, “if a Tweet was found to be in violation of our rules, and has yet to be deleted by the person who Tweeted it, we will hide it behind a notice. The account will remain locked until the Tweet is removed.”
Repeat violations of the Twitter rules may lead to permanent suspension, it added.
The VFA, signed between Manila and Washington in February 1998, allows American soldiers to visit the Philippines without passport and visa to pave the way for their participation in joint military drills.
On Feb. 11, the Philippines, however, sent a formal notice of termination of VFA to the US. The military pact is deemed revoked 180 days after the receipt of the termination notice.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte revoked the VFA because he wants to push for an independent foreign policy where the Philippines relies on its own. (PNA)