Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson announced on November 22 that she is going to attend the Arellano University School of Law this January 2018.
Uson said that she will go to law school to broaden her knowledge of the law.
“Starting January po mag-sisimula po tayong mag aral sa Arellano University School of Law upang mas lumawak pa ang ating kaalaman sa batas,” Uson said in a Facebook post.
Her supporters cheered her on and some lawyers, even those who are critics of the administration, welcomed Uson to the field of law.
But some netizens asked whether Uson is even eligible to go to law school when aspiring law students have to pass the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT) first.
Twitter user @maramagutlapig noted how Uson was not one of those who passed the May and September 2017 PhiLSAT exams.
“FYI: Per Legal Education Board Memorandum Order 7 series of 2016, PhiLSAT is a prerequisite for admission to basic law courses leading to either a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor degree beginning SY 2017 – 2018. Mocha is not one of the passers for both May & Sept’17 PhiLSAT,” she tweeted.
We checked the lists of passers for the April and September 2017 PhiLSAT tests, but we could not find Uson’s name in those lists.
When one Twitter user commented on @maramagutlapig’s tweet about the possibility that Uson could still go to law school under conditional admission, she insisted that she already asked around to see if conditional admission still applies to the second semester of the academic year.
But Facebook page PRISM took their inquiries right to the doorstep of the Legal Education Board (LEB) Chairman Emerson Aquende.
In the Facebook Messenger exchange, based on the screenshots provided by PRISM, Aquende clearly said that the “conditional enrolment was allowed only in the 1st Sem.”
Asked about how Uson said she will go to law school this January, the second semester, and how she did was not among the passers in the last two PhiLSATS, Aquende said, “I don’t know about that.”
Pressed as to how LEB handle Uson’s situation, the chairman responded, “So far, nothing of that sort has been communicated to LEB.”
Aquende also remarked, “LEBMO No 7 requires PhiLSAT eligibility.”
He was referring to LEB Memorandum Order No. 7, the same one pointed out by @maramagutlapig in her tweet.
Twitter page @YourLawyerSays welcomed Uson’s plan to go to law school.
“I am thrilled and happy to welcome Mocha to law school! May she learn the concepts of law, the importance of human rights, and the reason behind the rule of law. May she use her knowledge for the people and for what is right and not for her personal or political agenda,” the page tweeted.
Lawyer Jesus Falcis, a Duterte critic, also welcomed Uson’s plan to study law so she will stop spreading fake news and stop saying things without basis while citing that she was only stating her opinion.
“I am happy for Mocha Uson sa plano nyang maging law student sa January. Matututo na syang hindi magpakalat ng fake news at magka basis sa mga pinagsasabi nya! Hindi na sya pwede magtago sa likod ng mga katagang “this is just my opinion,”” Falcis wrote on Facebook.
However, Falcis also raised the question as to how Uson can go to law school when she works full-time as a PCOO assistant secretary, someone who is paid around P130,000 by taxpayers to do her job.
“Pero may tanong ako para kay ASec. Mocha Uson: PAANO KA MAKAKAPAG LAW SCHOOL HABANG MAY FULL-TIME JOB KA DYAN SA PCOO??” he asked.
“P130,000 pesos and more ang binabayad naming taxpayers sayo. Social media and blogging mo ay 24/7 kung titingnan natin pano ka mag post. So paano ka makakapag focus sa law school? Aber?” he added.
“Either masa-sakripisyo mo ang law school OR masa-sakripisyo mo ang TRABAHO MO!”
Falcis then went on to suggest that if Uson wants to push through with a law degree, she should resign from her PCOO post.
“Kaya kung gusto mo talaga mag law school, mag resign ka bilang ASec. Wag mo sayangin ang taxes namin! Hindi biro mag law school. Hindi din biro ang taxes namin,” he said.
But Uson’s post was quite vague as to what she will be specifically studying for at the Arellano University School of Law.
Even @maramagutlapig herself considered the idea that Uson might only be planning on taking a crash course.
After seeing the reactions to her law school plans, Uson addressed her bashers in another Facebook post.
“Mga bashers nga naman o. Sinabihan ka ng bobo tapos nakinig ako at magaaral na ako, ano daw karapatan ko mag aral? Baka bawal na din akong huminga?” she wrote.
Uson’s law school announcement came after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez announced Uson as one of PDP-Laban’s senatorial bets for the 2019 elections.
Uson clarified that she was surprised by the announcement after having declined Alvarez’s previous offers to make her run for senator. However, she said that she might consider running if President Rodrigo Duterte himself would convince her to do so.