Philippine Official who Supported Duterte on Social Media Resigns

Luis Liwanag
181003-PH-fake-620.jpg Mocha Uson, who resigned from her government post on Wednesday, uses her mobile phone to take a photo of President Rodrigo Duterte sometime last year.
Luis Liwanag/BenarNews

A divisive blogger who became Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s top defender on social media resigned from her government post Wednesday after angering legislators who threatened to withhold her agency’s budget.

Mocha Uson, who has used her Facebook account to prop up Duterte, said she was stepping down as assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

“I am sacrificing myself so the budget of the PCOO would be passed,” Uson told legislators, according to a copy of her speech posted on her Facebook account. “I have decided to resign.”

Since assuming office in May 2017, Uson has figured in a series of controversies and often used her Facebook account to stir up criticisms against Duterte’s political enemies.

Recently, she angered the deaf and mute community by appearing to make fun of their condition when a friend gestured made up sign language in her blog. This came shortly after they appeared on the same platform singing a sexually themed jingle that supposedly was to sell the government’s push for federalism.

Uson told her critics not to rejoice, warning them that she may have quit her post, but she would continue with what she calls her advocacy.

“You have long accused me of something. I chose to be quiet in the face of your attacks because I know you can stop the budget of our department,” she said.

She accused lawmakers of using their position to push for personal agendas and warned them that “someday we would face each other.”

“But I won’t hide behind my position, like you,” she said, without naming anyone. “I am prepared to fight like an ordinary Filipino together with the voiceless masses.”

Universal McCann, a New York-based advertising agency, described the Philippines as “the social-networking capital of the world.” It said about 83 percent of the country’s 103 million people were known to have social media accounts.

Uson’s phenomenal rise has been aided by racy posts on social media, where she has been known more for posting her sexy dance videos.

Sen. J.V. Ejercito stressed that the PCOO has been at the “center of controversies” but pointed out that Uson was being held to a higher standard because she was a government official.

“Amid all the public clamor for resignations, behind all the blaming and shaming, sometimes we end up turning against each other instead of helping one another rise from their mistakes and build a spirit of cooperation while others, sadly, just simply give up,” Ejercito said.

“However, let me emphasize that actions of government officials should be held to a higher standard because of the power that you wield,” he said.

Felipe Villamor in Manila contributed to this report.


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