Here’s the thing with having someone like Mocha Uson as Asec of the Presidential Communications Operations Office: she has no business being there.
I ignored her for much of the time she was spewing hate and vitriol during the campaign of 2016, but the moment she became a government official, there became no reason to ignore her, because public funds pay for her salary, for her trips, for whatever it is she’s doing on social media which is necessarily on behalf of and in connection to the PCOO and government.
And here is where Senator Nancy Binay was correct: there is no clear or real or tenable divide between Mocha on her FB account and Mocha the Assistant Secretary. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar of course insists otherwise, saying that Mocha’s disclaimer on her page is enough for us all to acknowledge this separation between the two Mochas. He also brings in an illusory debate:
But then again, there’s also a debate: If you’re a political appointee, do you stop being political? We all know that Asec. Mocha Uson is a staunch supporter who will fight tooth and nail for the President and we have to give her that.
Even this response is Andanar skewing the discussion. This is not about whether or not Asec Mocha can be political — everything is political! — and neither is this about her protecting the President through and through, good or bad, in whatever way. Andanar should check the mandate of PCOO itself: nowhere does it state that the responsibility of this office is to protect the President, and certainly it is NOT about being a “staunch supporter.” Might also be good for Andanar (and Mocha) to look at RA 6713 which states that every public official and employee
Shall at all times uphold the Constitution and put loyalty to country above loyalty to persons or party. <emphasis mine>
Andanar insists as well that PCOO is not about fake news, and Asec Mocha, in her response to Sen Binay asserts that saying she spreads fake news is just propaganda against her. Andanar should be checking his own communications policy because a PNA that gets news from a website such as Sputnik is certainly spreading highly questionable information.
The Asec meanwhile should be telling us what she means by propaganda, because last I looked propaganda is the tool of the powerful, its effectivity borne of the resources, the funds, the mileage that it gets as it is deliberately if not systematically disseminated. In the current state of affairs, the only successful propaganda is the one that Asec Mocha herself perpetuates — it is she who has the power, the resources of government, and the public funds to do propaganda.
I would give her this much though: she rarely is the source of fake news. But she does:
(1) Share questionable websites that subsist on fake news and pro-government propaganda;
(2) Vomit opinion based on those same incredible websites and other government propagandists, which make the bases of her opinions highly dubious, and oftentimes already skewed and biased in favor of the President’s policies;
(3) Subsist on vilifying anyone who is critical of government and the President, instead of answering allegations properly — as a government communications official is expected (and mandated!) to do; and
(4) Speak with malice about anyone at all who is considered enemy: everyone is dilawan, or anti-Duterte, or against change, and in the process she does spread falsity, to say the least.
The response to Senator Binay is telling:
She insinuates, obviously with malice, that Senator Binay has stolen from nation, when there is no proof, and no allegations, of the same.
And this is a daily Asec Mocha strategy: making veiled remarks, insinuating ill deeds, drawing simplistic conclusions where there are none. Another recent case in point:
Not only did the Asec share a website that delivers fake news and propaganda (the Luneta protest was NOT about ousting Duterte), she also asks malicious questions of Mother Mary John Mananzan which, if she cared to do research, she could so easily find answers to. Mother Mary John has stood consistently against abuses committed by priests here, and here and here among others, and has even written a book on its history. Re paying taxes, the Asec seems to think that nuns like Mother Mary John work in a Church. In fact she works in an academic institution, i.e., St. Scholastica’s College Manila, that does pay taxes — as all academic institutions do.
In this case, while Asec Mocha is not quite the source of fake news, she spreads falsity. She likes to say that these are just her opinions, and she has the freedom to articulate these. But there is opinion based on facts, and there is baseless — therefore wrong — opinion.
There is also just malicious rhetorical questions and unfounded insinuations. For Andanar — her boss — to even allow this to continue, and in the process to encourage it by refusing to penalize the Asec, is utterly unacceptable. For him to think that it’s enough of an excuse that Mocha on Facebook is different from Mocha the Asec of PCOO is the rationalization of a simpleton.
And there is this: if Mocha the Asec is NOT the Mocha on Facebook, then pray tell what is Asec Mocha doing exactly? Because the Mocha in the US right now — who is there on “official business” and bought there by our public funds, is appearing on her Facebook page. If this Facebook page is not part of her function as Asec, then government’s official business and her official functions should not appear on that page at all.
An even better question: if we are to believe the lie of two Mochas, then what are we to do with the Mocha who performs with the Mocha Girls even if it is against the law to do so?
Just when we thought one Mocha was bad enough, now we have to deal with three.