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Mocha asked: are you a blogger or official?

Updated

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Are you a blogger or a public official?

This was the question faced by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson as she faced the Senate committee on public information and mass media’s inquiry on the proliferation of fake news and misinformation Wednesday.

The performer-turned-government-official faced the grilling of senators over her viral Facebook posts which were deemed as vocal in support for the administration, and critical against its oppositors.

PCOO Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson (left) and Senator Nancy Binay during the Senate committee on public information and mass media’s inquiry on the proliferation of fake news and misinformation on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. (MANILA BULLETIN)

PCOO Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson (left)
and Senator Nancy Binay during the Senate committee on public information and mass media’s inquiry on the proliferation of fake news and misinformation on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
(MANILA BULLETIN)

“It’s high time for you to decide kung gusto mong maging ASec. o gusto mong maging blogger,” Senator Nancy Binay told Uson.

Binay had earlier called out Uson for spreading fake news. During the deliberation of the PCOO’s 2018 budget last month, senators pressed on PCOO Secretary Martin Anadanar to act on fake news. Uson was absent in the hearing as she attended the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“How can you fight fake news kung may instances na nanggagaling mismo sa isang Asec. yung fake news?” Binay was quoted telling Andanar last September 20.

Uson, a known Duterte supporter, had been under fire for her social media posts in her “Mocha Uson Blog.” In one instance, she was caught sharing last May a photo of kneeling Honduras police while asking prayers for soldiers in Marawi City. She later claimed the picture as “symbolism.”

She also shared a “fake news” published in the state-owned Philippine News Agency about the 95 member-states of the UN dismissing the existence of extra-judicial killings, or EJKs, in the country.

At the height of the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in August, the PCOO official posted a news article on the death of a policeman which, she claimed, was ignored by opposition, asking “when will they visit” the slain cop. The news article, it turned out, was a revival of a picture published.

Just most recently, she was charged by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV before the Ombudsman for sharing photos of the documents allegedly containing details of his offshore bank accounts.

Uson, in defense, said she was only “exercising her right to free speech” as a “blogger.”

Uson added she was “not aware that the freedom to expression should be compromised” when she became a public official.

But Binay, in Wednesday’s hearing, said Uson “cannot anymore separate” her being a blogger to being a public official, especially of the government’s communications arm.

“We are bound by RA (Republic Act) 6173…We cannot use that excuse at this point in time,” Binay told Uson.

RA 6173, or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” sets the standards that should be observed by elected and appointed government officials.

Officials of the PCOO again denied control over the blogs of Secretary Uson for social media and their connections to Uson’s blogs.

“Mocha’s blog is personal to her…she is liable for whatever contents are in her blog,” said Assistant Secretary Ana Maria-Banaag, who also appeared in the hearing.

Undersecretary Joel Egco told senators, “For as long she is not using the government website, she can exercise her right to expression.”

Uson, as assistant secretary for social media, handles the PCOO’s social media accounts to aid in disseminating information on the government’s campaigns and programs.

Egco, however, was not able to clarify Uson’s limitations as what to post in her personal blog. He admitted that the PCOO has not cited Uson for her controversial posts.

Banaag said her office have yet to accept as policy Andanar’s earlier pronouncements that bloggers would be regulated and should follow the code of ethics as observed by mainstream journalists.

Accountability

Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the public information committee, urged the PCOO to act promptly on Uson’s statements.

“They (PCOO) should say, ‘You can promote the policies of the government for as along as it’s based on facts…We need cheerleaders in the government. But you should only stick to the truth and not embellish it,” Poe said.

But Poe maintained her personal position that a public official should avoid having a personal blog, especially “if you are in the communications office of the government.”

“Mahirap balansahin ang personal sa opisyal. Kaya siguro dapat iwasan na magakaroon ng isang personal blog. Isang sakripisyo mo yan sa pagpasok mo sa gobyerno,” she noted.

Asked about what the PCOO should do about Uson, Poe said: “Well, she’s under the purview of the PCOO. Secretary Andanar should definitely reiterate what her responsibilities are, and if need be, should definitely call his staff’s attention.”

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  • Mr Anderson

    Blogger, official, or porn star?

  • Art Ahdp

    Sen. Nancy, you can also put up your own blog as a free citizen of the republic and we will not ask you to decide. Your problem with Mocha is that she has made so much impact and reach surpassing the engagement ratings of big mainstream media. She is virtually killing the mainstream business and they can hardly catch up. Last time I checked, we’re still in a democracy, if you can have free speech why can’t her?

    • Marzan Rodesan

      Free speech (malicious) has limitations particularly for a government employee at hindi nababagay sa office pa ng panggulo.

    • prosecutiongrandstandingsucks

      Lol. I cant imagine Secretary Abella spreading fake news and then later on claiming “i did it on my own private capacity and not as the presidential spokesperson”. haha.

    • Richard Ng

      see that’s the problem with you dutert@rds. you don’t even know what “freedom of speech” is and you confuse popularity with morality and what’s right or wrong. P@rn sites is the most popular internet sites, does that mean the contents of those site are perfectly right and a Philippine government official is right to publish p@rn? Oh wait, I forgot you people have no shame and no idea what a government should represent their people with moral and integrity. Your God and talk about raping a nun and you don’t even have a problem with that.

      Only idi@t like you don’t understand what’s wrong with a government official who represent the country to publish news, pictures, information that are proven to be fake pictures, fake information, and complete lies. Even lies that foreign government – the USA have to officially tell the Philippines that their UN rep. never said something. Only you ret@rds don’t see how disgraceful it is when your government representative shown to be liars, thief, and just a bad character. and you dare to show how pathetic you are in the public.

      • Art Ahdp

        Proud Dutertads here! See the problem with you butthurt moronic yellowtards is you think you are all entitled to all the privileges. Maybe your freedom of speech means the one did by your deputy ombudsman? Shame on you!!! Try taking some more drugs to fed your hallucinations, look who’s pathetic :-)

        ktnxbye! hahahaha

  • velt vueling

    The Senators would like it if all civil servants become monks, spending their lives in quiet contemplation.

    Sorry Senators, it’s 2017. If you can’t tell the difference between a personal blog and a government blog it’s your problem.

  • SPAM ME

    Pwede naman syang official blogger, no compromise.

  • junviray

    Senators or all government officials should maintain and stick to their sworn duties to avoid being cited “unfairly”. Otherwise they are prone to criticism based on their actuations. Critics are free to do their thing. They should not be shut out. There are pertinent laws that govern libel or any untoward misdemeanors.

  • Ali Ngasngas

    Sino pipillin si Binay o si Uson….. ako si Uson sexy niya in fairness hahahah sabi ni Kris…

  • Mr Anderson

    Trill and Dotard should have a naughty Santa gift exchange and me and mocha too.

    • john appleseed

      She is as ugly as a mud fence.

      • Mr Anderson

        Even a mud fence gets lonely. Lol

  • DRP

    naka bulls eye din si Nancy sa wakas 😉 si pakyaw kailan kaya? haha

  • John Puruntong

    NO LAW PROHIBITS AN OFFICIAL TO BE A BLOGGER

    • john appleseed

      You Duterte bootlickers would be embarrassed of your stupid statements if you could ever figure out how stupid they are.
      Please read articles before you comment about them.
      Mocha is a habitual liar. That’s why she’s in trouble.

  • Reden Macayan Pajara

    What do we call if some senator restricts your right to express, right of speech, just because you are a gov’t official? Just because you are not favoring them, you must stop your blogging site because of your millions of followers on FB and Twitter finds your opinions are mostly true? Prrd has said that that law you are creating will not pass because you are trying to suppress the freedom granted by the constitution. So if that is possible to suppress this freedom, PRRD can easily become a dictator and tyrant suppressing all dissents that will come out and you or we will not like it.

    • john appleseed

      You should read an article before you comment about it.
      Mocha the wh0re is in trouble because she is a fountain of fake news & lies.

  • Mike_Realism

    It just so happen that the supposed to be “Resource Persons” where the one who was humiliated by the LP Senators. Anyare with CoCoy?

    • Balintataw

      “It just so happened that the supposedly “Resource Persons” were the ones humiliated by the LP Senators.”

      — There. You are welcome

  • john appleseed

    Mocha’s constant lies would be humiliating to a normal administration, but since Duterte himself is the father of lies, she is welcome on his team.
    Is she still breaking the law by performing in casinos? Has she been prosecuted for this?
    BTW, she is as ugly as a mud fence. Why would anyone call her “sexy”?

  • SUPERBI

    a senator should be thinking of making laws for the good of the country. this senator is only focused on destroying the credibility of our president. this only shows that he is only full of politics and not for the good of the country. he does not have any other agenda to help the country and the people/

  • Liwanag Para sa Bayan

    this senator only won because of pure luck. he does not have the right attitude and credibility to win an election. he is only making noise every time without any real sense in how to help the country grow and the people to be comfortable. he is only after his political ambition at all times,

  • Berdugo Katapang

    this so called senator does not know how to be a senator. all he does is make noise and press release. he does not know the true work of senator and instead only want political considerations given to him. he speaks out against the government but he himself does not know how to run anything. .,,

  • Kwak Kwak Kwak

    this senator is always grandstanding and will do everything to make him in the news. he is only making noise so the people will always remember him. he has not proven anything and yet he has the guts to speak out against the administration. he has not proven his capability to serve and his capability to be a leader,

  • Lucas Temoteo

    this former rebel soldier cannot be trusted. he turned his back on his superiors when he conducted his siege last time. he cannot lead a group of soldiers what more of the entire country. he does not know anything on how to handle and solve the problems of our country. he is just making noise..,/

  • Rey David

    this senator will always cry and make noise whenever he does not get what he wants. he is proven to be a rebel with no clear cause and no clear direction. he has not really seen he cared for the country but only for himself. he will do everything to make himself in the public for his political purpose/..

  • MAYPAGASA

    this senator is only after his political career and not for the good of the country. he will only make noise to make the public aware that he is still active. he has no clear agenda and is only after the benefit of himself. he should not be given attention. he is a man who only knows his political agenda no more,

  • Simon antonio

    the country will not benefit from this senator. he is only making noise as he knows from the last election that he will not win anymore and get elected. he has been making baseless allegations on the president and is making noise so that the people will notice him. he doesnt deserve our attention.
    /

  • Emilio

    this senator is proven to be a coward and who has no clear principles. he changes his agenda an is only after his self interest. he is a former soldier who does not have the right discipline to follow his superiors. we cannot expect good things from this senator only noise./

  • Parasa Bayan

    noise making is the only talent of this senator. he is known to make noise and to create trouble then he will abandon everything at the end. we cannot trust a man with this reputation. he is never a good leader and will never be in the future of philippine politics..,.//