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SPEAKER’S CHOICE

Mocha a shoo-in for Senate, says her boss

/ 05:58 AM November 19, 2017

Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson

Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson is sure to win if she runs for the Senate given her strong social media following, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

As for presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Andanar said he is an exception to President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier statement that he does not want his Cabinet members to run for the Senate.

Roque and Uson are among the candidates that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants to field for the 2019 senatorial race under the banner of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

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Playing coy

Roque and Uson, though, are playing coy and had indicated that running for the legislature was not in their plans as of the moment.

Uson had said she would only run for the Senate if Mr. Duterte asks her to do so.

Andanar, speaking over state-run Radyo Pilipinas, said it was an honor for anyone to be considered by the Speaker for inclusion in the senatorial slate.

He said Uson, who is under his jurisdiction as assistant communications secretary, was very popular especially on social media. This increases her chances of victory at the polls, he added.

Her followers and their relatives may vote for her, he said.

“If we’re going to talk about winnability or the possibility of winning, it’s a no-brainer for Mocha. She can really draw the crowd in a Senate campaign,” he said.

Uson’s Facebook page has more than five million followers. She usually defends the President and bashes his critics on her page. She has also been accused of spreading false information online.

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Jumping board

As for Roque, Andanar noted that Mr. Duterte had said in the past that he does not want his Cabinet officials to run for the Senate because he does not like them using their positions as a jumping board to enter politics.

But Andanar said Roque, who has the rank of secretary, is an exception.

Roque’s recruitment as the President’s new spokesperson came after Mr. Duterte’s declaration that he does not want Cabinet members to run for the Senate, he said, and added that the two had discussed the fact that Roque may run for the legislature.

“As a matter of fact, when Secretary Roque was introduced, I think it was in Bacolod or Iloilo, the President said he would be included in his senatorial slate. So Secretary Roque is an exception to the rule,” he said.

President’s prerogative

It’s the President’s prerogative who he wants to field as his party’s bets for the Senate, he added.

Roque, who took his oath as PDP-Laban member on Friday, said he was flattered by Alvarez’s endorsement, but added that he does not have the means to seek a Senate seat.

He said his focus at the moment is his new job as presidential spokesperson.

Roque had flirted with the idea of running for the Senate under former Vice President Jejomar Binay’s slate during the 2016 elections, but changed his mind and instead became the nominee of Kabayan party-list, which put him in the House of Representatives.

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Harry Roque, Martin Andanar, Mocha Uson, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rodrigo Duterte
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