Mocha resigns but keeps open plan to run in polls
After a series of blunders, controversial blogger and Duterte supporter Mocha Uson resigned from the presidential communication office on Wednesday but said she was open to running for public office if there was a clamor for it.
Uson, an assistant communication secretary, announced her decision at the Senate hearing on the budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
She said she was resigning because of the House of Representatives’ move to defer the approval of the PCOO budget if she would not show up there.
Uson’s departure from the PCOO was all that was needed for the House to approve on Wednesday the agency’s budget request of P1.41 billion for 2019.
The House plenary deliberations on the PCOO budget were deferred twice after the controversial sex guru-turned-Palace executive failed to attend the hearings.
In her one-page resignation letter dated Sept. 28 to President Rodrigo Duterte, Uson thanked him for the “lifetime opportunity” he gave her to serve in his administration.
“I do not wish to cause such burden to the office, hence I am hereby notifying you of my resignation effective Oct. 1, 2018,” Uson said.
At press time, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President “has not acted on [the resignation of Uson].”
Uson, who used to be a singer and dancer, campaigned for the President during the 2016 election. She performed in his rallies with her group called the “Mocha Girls.”
After he won, the President appointed Uson to Malacañang’s communication office.
She often defended the President and attacked his critics on her Facebook page, said to have some 5 million followers. She has been called out for posting false information or fake news on her social media account.
Uson had also been at the center of several controversies.
The latest were her mocking of sign language with her online show cohost Drew Olivar, and her involvement in a video that showed Olivar doing a raunchy dance supposedly to promote the administration’s federalism advocacy.
Both instances angered the public and lawmakers.
A few months ago, the President apologized after Uson used the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. to defend him from the firestorm generated by his kissing a married Filipino woman during a visit to Seoul.
Roque said he wished Uson the “best.”
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Uson should have been fired a long time ago and described her decision as “too little, too late.”
“It is an extremely belated gesture rendered insignificant in the face of gross incompetence, state-sponsored vulgarity and the proliferation of fake news,” Hontiveros said.
Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesperson for Vice President Leni Robredo, said Uson’s resignation was not a loss for the country.
Robredo has been the subject of a number of alleged “false claims” that Uson and her supposed supporters online, circulated mainly on social media, including pregnancy rumors and alleged illicit affairs with her political allies.
For his part, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said Uson’s decision to quit was “a whiff of fresh air.”
“Uson had it coming for her and [she should] not blame others for her fate. She’s so contemptuous and full of herself,” Villarin said.
1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. said Communication Secretary Martin Andanar should take cue from his erstwhile subordinate and quit his office “to take moral and command responsibility for the numerous failings of the PCOO and agencies under his jurisdiction.”
Asked in an interview if she would be running for the Senate or the House, Uson said she would leave it up to the public, which is what President Duterte advised her.
“Senate, Congress, I don’t know yet. But we are open,” she told reporters.
According to Uson, she would be “braver” and more vocal now that she’s out of Malacañang since there would be fewer restrictions on her.
“I will return to being a blogger and I will double my effort in fighting for President Duterte and the people who do not have a voice in society,” she said. —With a report from Melvin Gascon
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