Harry and Teddyboy are 'fine', says Roque; Locsin insists foreign affairs is his turf

Published May 12, 2021, 1:58 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said he and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. are still on good terms after the latter insisted that he was the only one who can speak for President Duterte on foreign affairs.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Roque made the statement after Locsin encouraged his fellow government officials to drop the talk about the West Philippine Sea and leave it to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“What can we do? Let’s try this: drop the subject and leave it entirely to the Department of Foreign Affairs under ME, the only expert on the subject bar none,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday.

In a text message to reporters, Roque said he already talked with Locsin about the issue.

“We talked this morning and we’re fine,” he said.

Roque claimed on Tuesday that the Julian Felipe Reef, where around 200 Chinese ships were sighted in March, was not part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“All we’re saying is we were never in possession of that area…Ni hindi po ‘yan kabahagi ng ating EEZ ha, ‘yung Julian Felipe. Labas po ‘yan, ganyan po kalayo ‘yan (It’s not even part of our EEZ. Julian Felipe reef is outside that zone, that’s how far it is),” he said in his regular Tuesday presser.

In a series of tweets, Locsin stressed his turf over the country’s foreign affairs and issued a “last warning” to those who would speak about the issue.

“This is my last warning. When it comes to foreign affairs the Department of Foreign Affairs has the exclusive remit,” he said.

“I don’t come from diplomacy; I come from a life that settled the hash of a lotta people who talked tough and ended up biting dirt. I don’t talk, I deal,” he added.

“There is only one voice on what’s ours: mine. Period. Not even the military has any say. I speak for the President on this subject,” he said in another tweet.

This was not the first time Locsin urged Roque to lay off foreign affairs after Roque denied that Beijing’s controversial Coast Guard law killed the hope for the South China Sea Code of Conduct.

“HARRY, just lay off foreign affairs,” Locsin said in a tweet on February 1.

He later called out Roque, saying he was not competent to speak about foreign affairs.

“I AM NOT LISTENING TO HARRY ROQUE. LOVE THE GUY BUT HE’S NOT COMPETENT IN THIS FIELD,” he said.

“WE DO NOT GO BACK TO The Hague. WE MIGHT LOSE WHAT WE WON. HARRY, LAY OFF,” he added.

Locsin reiterated this on February 2 after Roque said that the Philippine military was on standby to repatriate Filipinos in Myanmar if necessary following the coup in the Asian country.

“PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON HARRY ROQUE DOES NOT EXPRESS FOREIGN POLICY. THAT WAS HIS PERSONAL OPINION,” he said.

“THE LAST THING WE WILL DO IS ASSEMBLE OUR ARMED FORCES TO EVACUATE OUR NATIONALS,” he added.

 
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