After online backlash, Mocha retreats
Controversial blogger Mocha Uson skipped the Philippine Army’s Senior Leaders’ Conference (SLC) on Tuesday, where she was supposed to be one of three resource speakers invited to discuss the role of social media in national security, a spokesperson said.
Mocha, Margaux Uson in real life, sent a letter on Monday saying she would no longer attend the forum after courting bad publicity when she posted the Army’s invitation online, Army spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao said.
“The Philippine Army fully respects her decision. Her scheduled 15-minute talk will instead be used for open discussions with the two other speakers on the same topic of social media,” Hao said.
Mocha was supposed to be one of the panelists to discuss social media, one of the topics in the conference that aims to promote “intellectual discourse with experts in various disciplines that impact on national security.”
The two others were administration supporter Pompee La Viña and blogger Abe Olandres.
Too late for a replacement
Hao said it was too late for the Army to find a replacement for Uson, a pro-Duterte social media celebrity followed by some 4.9 million people on Facebook.
Her name still appeared on invitations and the program of the conference, which was attended by about 180 Army senior leaders and guests, and was the highlight of the institution’s 120th anniversary celebration.
An Army officer privy to the details of the conference told the Inquirer that the invitation to Uson was recalled as early as Sunday.
The source said Uson’s posting of the invitation on Facebook did not sit well with the Army brass, but some officers insisted that the blogger be given a graceful exit.
Uson argued that she did not intend to court negative publicity from her bashers just by posting the invitation.
“It was a surprise for me to be invited as speaker by the Philippine Army. I did not expect that, and I am truly honored,” she said.
Uson was supposed to talk in her capacity as a newly appointed member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, and she had posted the letter on her Facebook page as “proof” that she had credibility as a blogger.
She had also threatened to make her detractors “eat” the invitation, triggering a social media backlash.
Uson acknowledged that she had provoked varied reactions from netizens, and decided to pull out from the conference to spare the Army from the controversy.
“That’s why I decided to no longer attend the Senior Leaders Conference,” she said. “I hope you understand my decision. To save our soldiers from being bashed … I have decided not to attend the event.”—WITH A REPORT FROM FRANCES MANGOSING
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