When Mocha Uson was named as Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on May 8, one of those who objected to her appointment was the younger sister of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Paula Defensor Knack.
In her Facebook post on May 10, Knack remarked that her sister, the late senator, would be “furious” with Mocha’s appointment.
She also talked about her previous government posts as assistant secretary of DENR and how ASECs like here before were “educated, intelligent, and had long years of experience.”
“I was Assistant Secretary of the DENR before and served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Senate before that. Prior to becoming Asst. Sec. of the DENR, I also headed the Legal Department of 13 companies based in the PH and US. All of us Asecs were highly educated, intelligent, and had long years of experience. We took our positions very seriously,” Knack wrote.
Knack also cited why she objects to Mocha’s government post when she can be appointed to other positions.
“The Assistant Secretary is considered a ministerial position in high-level meetings, including UN summits. WE NEED PEOPLE WHO ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED AND POSSESS STATURE. There are protocols for ministerial positions during international events. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT,” she said.
She added that it is not definitely not easy to defend the president as a PCOO ASEC.
“Defending the President is not a joke, it is not comedy, it is a very serious affair especially in foreign relations. It is NOT an easy task for us to defend the government back home, when appointments to high positions are taken lightly.So now we have to defend Mocha Usons statements, videos, and past experience before foreign diplomats ? GET A BRAIN ! Everything is being scrutinized right now,” Knack wrote.
The job should have been given to someone with “far better credentials” so as not to make the Office of the President look like a “student council,” she opined.
“I do not personally know her, but it should be given to more qualified people with far better credentials because the times and the issues call for people with stature who can speak for the President and gain respect in international fora and media. The Office of the President is not a student council. That was the criticism of yellows and now it is being filled by anyone close to the President. That is not proper,” Knack added.
“People associated with the President should command the highest respect. We do not want a circus around the President. DO NOT COPY THE STUDENT COUNCIL OF YELLOWS.”
“This makes the Office of the President a joke. This is not easy to defend abroad,” Knack concluded her post.
Knack is a legal advisor in the Philippine Embassy in The Hague.
Mocha responded to Knack’s criticism, which she considered to be one of the few “legitimate” comments about her appointment. She said that while Knack may have said that she is not the right person for the job, she will do her best to fulfil her duties and responsibilities as PCOO ASEC that was entrusted to her by President Duterte.