How does Senator Mocha sound to you?
CEBU CITY – If Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez can have his way, he wants Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to be one of the senatorial candidates of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for the 2019 elections.
In a speech during the oath-taking of new PDP-Laban members in Cebu on Friday afternoon, Alvarez said he endorsed Uson as among those whom he wanted to be included in the senatorial lineup of the ruling party.
“Karong hapona akong giuban ang among mga kaubanan nga gusto nako ipadala didto sa hawanan sa Senado aron sa ingon mopaspas ang ilang trabaho (This afternoon, I brought our colleagues whom I want to send to Senate so that their work will be faster),” he told a crowd of about 50,000 people gathered at Plaza Independencia in downtown Cebu City.
He first called presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, presidential adviser Francis Tolentino and Representatives Karlo Nograles of Davao City, Geraldine Roman of Bataan and Albee Benitez of Negros Occidental who all joined him on stage.
The last person he called was Uson whom Alvarez described as “tagadepensa (defender) of President Duterte.
The crowd erupted into applause as Uson clad in white shirt and tight-fitting black jeans joined Alvarez and the five others on stage.
Asked later about the possibility of running for senator, Uson said she would leave the decision to President Duterte.
“I was invited here by Secretary (Michael) Dino (presidential assistant for Visayas) to attend this event and I wanted to see myself kung gaano karami ang nagmamahal kay (how many Cebuanos love) President Duterte,” she said.
Asked if she was open to the possibility of running for senator, she replied: “Wow. Tanong nyo po muna kay President Duterte yan (Please ask President Duterte first).”
Uson, leader of a sexy all-female dance group Mocha Girls, was Mr. Duterte’s staunch supporter on social media when the then Davao City mayor ran for president in 2016.
The entertainer-turned-blogger was first named as board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) before she was appointed as assistant secretary under the PCOO.
President Duterte earlier admitted that he appointed Uson to the Cabinet due to “utang na loob (debt of gratitude).”
“Utang na loob ko ‘yan sa kanila because they offered their services free at the time when wala akong pera because they believed in me. Now, it’s my time to believe in them,” he earlier said.
Alvarez said he was endorsing his candidates for senator now because he wanted the next Senate to be dominated by PDP-Laban since the present batch of senators was slow in acting on the bills passed by the House of Representatives.
In their first regular session, he said the House passed 110 bills which were sent to the Senate but only 10 were passed by the Upper Chamber.
“Mao ni sila gusto nako tabangan. Tabangan nato tanan ha? Hanyo nako sa inyo, kung nahimo sa Cebu nga naay usa ka higayon nag-deliver tag 12-0 para sa atong President, hangyon ko kamo mga igsuon, ato ideliver pag usab ang 12-0. Para ni nato tanan. Para sa nasod sa Pilipinas. Para sa kausaban nga gusto natong kab-uton (They are the ones I want to help. Let’s help them. I’m asking you that if Cebu delivered 12-0 for our President, I’m asking you again to deliver 12-0 once again. This is for all of us. This is for our country. This is for the change we want to achieve),” he added.
At least 12 mayors, 300 vice mayors and councilors and 1,000 village officials took their oath of office as new members of the PDP-Laban.
Among those who formally took their oath of office were Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia and her local party, One Cebu as well as members of the Cebu City’s local opposition party, Barug Team Rama.
Ironically, the head of Barug Team Rama –former Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama – was not invited to join the ruling party after he was named by President Duterte as among the narco-politicians in the country.
Rama had been trying to seek audience with President Duterte in a bid to clear his name.
“Keep trying,” was Alvarez’s advice to Rama.
He said those included on the list of alleged drug protectors like Rama would have to clear their names first by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) among others before being able to join the party.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide, local head of the Liberal Party, and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) who are led by the Duranos in the north didn’t join the exodus to the PDP-Laban although they were forming a coalition with the ruling party.
Bakud and Osmeña affiliated with the LP last elections.
Alvarez welcomed the offer of coalition with non-PDP-Laban members.
“For me, those who are not members of PDP, or you belong to the other party and yet you’re willing to help the administration of the President, it’s very welcome,” he said.
“Ako lang hangyo, total layo pa ang election, dili sa nato hatagan ug prioridad ang politika kundi ang pagtabang sa Presidente para makadeliver ug serbisyo sa katawhan (My request, since the election is still far, let us not give priority to politics but in helping the President in delivering services to the people),” he said.
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