Senators back Locsin’s appointment as special envoy to China

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senators on Thursday, August 17 welcomed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to appoint Teodoro Locsin Jr. as the Special Envoy to the People’s Republic of China for Special Concerns.

Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said he finds it an “interesting move” of the President to choose Locsin.

“Although we have yet to be informed of the extent of his authority or role given to him by the President…(he) brings a wealth of experience, having served as DFA secretary and as the Philippine ambassador to the United Nations,” Estrada said.

Estrada said the  success of Locsin’s role as a special envoy will depend on his ability to navigate the intricacies of international diplomacy, communicate effectively, and foster a productive atmosphere for a dialogue between the two countries.

“Observers will be keenly watching how he will handle the complexities of his role and whether this will lead to positive developments insofar as our country’s relations with China is concerned,” he further said.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito cited Locsin’s track record as a seasoned diplomat, legal expert, and accomplished legislator.

“Given his experience as Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary, lawyer and former legislator, I’m sure Ambassador Teddy Locsin could be the best one for the job as special envoy for special concerns,” Ejercito said in a statement.

Ejercito, likewise, hailed Locsin as the most fitting candidate for the role as “he is known as a troubleshooter during his DFA days.”

Locsin previously served as the secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Duterte administration from 2018-2022. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010, representing the 1st district of Makati.

Currently, Locsin is Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

“It is also a good timing as it is still important to keep lines open in the midst of the West Philippine Sea conflict,” Ejercito said.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, likewise, commended the President for his initiative to appoint Locsin for that position. 

“Any action that promotes talks, dialogue or other peaceful means with the objective of achieving greater understanding, restraint and cooperation is always most welcome,” Escudero said in a separate statement.

“I commend PBBM for this initiative as it shows his commitment to finding and pursuing peaceful ways of asserting our rights and sovereignty in regard to the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

“He is both competent and capable. But the most important qualification is that (by being chosen by PBBM) he enjoys the trust and confidence of the President who is the ‘chief architect’ of our country’s foreign policy,” he pointed out.

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri also deemed Locsin as the man “perfect for that job.”

“Being a former DFA Secretary, as well as the former Ambassador to the United Nations, he has the expertise and experience in dealing with China,” Zubiri stressed.

The Senate leader said Locsin is also “extremely loyal to the cause of protecting the sovereignty of our country as proven by the hundreds of diplomatic protests that he personally filed on behalf of our country during the Duterte presidency.”

“His familiarity with the leaders of China as well as their methods is what makes him perfect for the job. I wish him Godspeed,” he said.

Sen. Grace Poe also hailed the President’s decision, saying Locsin “is an impressive and interesting choice.”

“He is an adroit diplomat and skilled leader, unafraid to go to whatever lengths necessary for the best interest of the Filipinos,” Poe said also in a statement.

“We hope he can help the country navigate through the rough waters of the West Philippine Sea to defend and protect what belongs to us,” added the senator.