On May 11, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that any pronouncement by Diehard Duterte Supporter (DDS), entertainer and now PCOO Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson would not be necessarily the same position taken by the Philippine government.
Abella said that Uson’s pronouncements would remain hers and would not represent Malacañang’s views.
“These, as far as I know, will come from a personal point of view. I mean, from her personal appointment,” Abella said, as quoted by Manila Standard in a May 12 report.
“She will not be [part of the Presidential Communications Office as] a blogger but as part of the PCOO,” he added.
Uson’s Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog, has over 5 million “likes.”
Manila Standard also reported what Uson wrote in one of her recent Facebook posts, which said, “It’s time for us to stop relying on the wrong reports from some mainstream media, and to strengthen social media with the help of true members of the DDS. Because we are the media of Tatay Digong.”
On May 11, the same day Abella made the above statement about Uson, she posted a disclaimer on her Facebook page saying, “This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own views and not of the PCOO.”
However, Uson, as a public official, ought to follow the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713).
And the netizens reacted mostly negatively to Abella’s statement, asking if this is the Palace’s way of putting out a disclaimer.
Some netizens asked if, as taxpayers, they are now paying Uson to share her personal opinion.
One netizen wondered if this meant Uson can “say any trash” without being bounded by the Code of Ethics for public officials.
Award-winning writer Miguel Syjuco also said that it is “funny” how Uson, as PCOO Asec, “is not supposedly accountable as a public official for her proclamations on social media.”
Some Facebook users said that Malacañang is basically saying that the public cannot hold Uson accountable despite paying for her salary.
Other Facebook users commented on how this seemed like Malacañang’s disclaimer, distancing itself from whatever Uson might say in the future.
Some noted how this seemed like a “tug of war between the President’s sober spokesperson and his flamboyant new ASec.”
One noted how confusing Abella’s statement is and what the point of Uson’s appointment then if her statements do not relay the views of the Palace.
Someone also called the Duterte administration “ridiculous” and slammed the President’s “utang na loob” to Uson for campaigning for him last 2016 elections.