Teddyboy Locsin: I'll be more careful with my tweets

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Incoming ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin, Jr. has been under fire for a series of controversial tweets, recently resulting in a viral petition to reject his ambassadorial appointment.

"I have hurt real friends and followers," Locsin told CNN Philippines' The Source. "To them I apologize, but only to them."

Locsin, a lawyer, journalist, and former congressman, has gained attention for his contentious statements on the social media platform. Some of his tweets, directed at followers and news sites, used expletives. A recent tweet in response to an Inquirer article on Sen. Leila De Lima read: "Ah, shut the f*** up, you fat b****. GMA had a TRO from the Supreme Court and you spat on it."

However, Locsin refused to apologize to "the d********" who picked fights with him online. But as for expletives on Twitter, Locsin says "that's the last of it."

This is because his daughter, who set up his account, put her foot down. "Suddenly she said, 'Another word from you, and I'll cancel this,'" he said. Locsin tweeted on Wednesday that his daughters called for him to "stay out of Twitter" and deleted the app on his phone.

The statements that prompted the viral petition included tweets saying that the Nazis "knew something more than killing Jews," and that they "were right after all." In a tweet dated August 21, he wrote: "I believe that the drug menace is so big it needs a final solution like the Nazis adopted. That I believe. No rehab."

 

'I rant on Twitter'

According to Locsin, the tweet sent in August was "really for shock value" and "partly a private joke" between him and a friend who worked in the Jewish government district.

"[My friend] said, boy, they really run me ragged here. You know, they said, 'Hitler's not all wrong.' I died laughing when he said that," said Locsin. "I've never been anti-Semitic. Well, if they want to interpret it that way, then they are perfectly free to remain in their ignorance."

He added that the tweet did not gain attention until President Rodrigo Duterte made a similar statement last week. Duterte said that while Hitler massacred three million Jews, he would "be happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.

Related: Duterte decries Hitler comparison, but 'would be happy to slaughter drug addicts'

"I enjoy myself on Twitter because I let myself go," said Locsin, who said that he is "more satisfied" with his writing for Teditorial, an editorial segment on ANC's nightly newscast, The World Tonight. "[When] I use Twitter, I rant. Then I sit down and write it, and it must be formal, it must have cadence… And I'm very proud of that."

Locsin added that he does not post on Facebook because it would redirect the energy meant for his editorials. Twitter, however, has only 140 characters.

"If I feel I gotta say it, I gotta say it," he said. "But I don't want to lose the energy to write the full piece, [so] I rant on Twitter."

Joining Duterte administration

Despite being a presidential appointee, Locsin disclosed that he had actually voted for Sen. Grace Poe in the May elections.

He also said that he had previously questioned Duterte's premise for the drug war, but he also believes that the figures come from statistics first mentioned by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. "It's on that basis that Duterte has launched this campaign," he said. "If it's that big, either we wait for the problem to really be that big, or we nip it in the bud."

Locsin, who maintains tha he is not ambassador yet, said that the manner of his nomination confused him. It began with an offer from Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, but he was later summoned by the President. Locsin said that in between discussions on the drug war, "He looks at me and then he says, 'Don't defend me. I don't need to be defended. You just do it for the country.'"

When asked how he will react to international concern over the president's statements, Locsin said that he will maintain the president's request not to defend him. He added that he only expects the issue to rise during the next UN Summit on Drugs.

Locsin is set to assume the ambassadorial post next year.