‘Too little, too late’ and other reactions to Mocha’s PCOO exit

October 3, 2018 - 6:36 PM
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Mocha Uson intervew
Mocha Uson, an influential government blogger, answers questions from reporters upon stepping out of a Senate budget hearing where she announced her resignation as assistant secretary on President Duterte's communications team. (STAR/KJ Rosales)

Mocha Uson has resigned from the president’s communications team, and her critics are rejoicing.

But many of them deemed the move “too late” since she has already made several controversial blunders while in office.

This announcement came in the same month of the official filing of candidacy at the Commission of Elections of those who wish to run at the mid-term polls next year.

For Uson, she did it as a “sacrifice” to give lawmakers no reason to further question and scrutinize the budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office for 2019. She served at the office for at least one year.

“Ako na po ang magsasakripisyo para maipasa na po ang budget ng PCOO,” she said during the PCOO budget deliberation on October 3.

‘Damage has been done’

Rep. Tom Villarin (Akbayan party-list), an administration critic, said that Uson’s resignation was already “too late” given the bad record she left to the presidential communications arm.

“Too little, too late. Her deeds have poisoned the air we breathe. It’s a whiff of fresh air, though,” Villarin said.

Last January, Villarin and Uson were among the officials recognized for their public governance by the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association.

However, the lawmaker returned his award when Uson was conferred with the same merit, which he perceived she did not deserve.

Similarly, Sen. Risa Hontiveros described it as a “belated gesture” in a Twitter thread.

“An extremely belated gesture rendered insignificant in the face of gross incompetence, state-sponsored vulgarity and fake news,” Hontiveros said. “It has come very late in response to the public’s demand for accountability.”

“I’m afraid that the damage done by Uson and her ilk to our institution tasked to inform and educate the people and enrich the quality of public discourse runs deep. It will take more than a forced tokenistic resignation to rebuild the ruin,” she added.

Secretary Martin Andanar, chief of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Uson served, now bears the brunt of restoring the image of his office, the senator said.

“If Andanar really wants to salvage the PCOO’s image, he has this one chance to do it. If not, he is no better than Uson,” Hontiveros said.

The former Akbayan representative is among the administration critics whom Uson constantly targets in the posts she shares on her blog.

Uson made the decision to quit during her first attendance of the budget hearing after failing to attend the first two, on September 6 and 25, thus causing for its deferment.

Some lawmakers and groups previously moved to scrap the allocation entirely and cited these blunders as evidence that the PCOO does not deserve a portion of Filipinos’ taxes.

Some mistakes of the PCOO were grammatical errors spotted in the identification cards of Palace reporters and photoshopped images of a Navy frigate in an official report.

More opportunities?

Running for next year’s elections is also a possibility, Uson confirmed, either for a senate at the Senate or House.

Previous reports say she is being eyed to run as nominee of the ACTS-OFW partylist. Its current representative, Aniceto Bertiz III, this week made headlines for an outburst at airport.

Her name had also been considered in the PDP-Laban senatorial lineup. The administration slate has yet to release its official list.

Some Filipinos also took notice of the chances of her winning a congressional seat, saying this is more disastrous to the nation.

Others shared that her quitting does not end the campaign against the spread of false information.

For the staunch supporter, leaving the public office gives her ample opportunity to challenge her critics and those who oppose the government by being more active in blogging.

“Para sa mga bumabatikos sa akin, huwag kayong magkamaling isipin na nagatgumpay kayo. Hindi ako nagbitiw sa posisyon dahil takot akong harapin kayo. Gusto ko lang na pag nagkaharap tayo, patas ang laban,” Uson dared.

ETO PO ANG AKING SPEECH KANINAMagandang umaga po Mr. Chair. Maraming salamat po at binigyan ninyo ako ng pagkakataon…

Posted by MOCHA USON BLOG on Tuesday, October 2, 2018