Aug 6, 2018

Mocha Uson insists the rest of us are missing the point.

This is all about her being “the only one of those” government officials tasked to disseminate information about federalism on social media who is actually doing the job.

Uson claimed she was doing it even if she is not “the ambassadress of federalism,” a title she only relinquished Sunday night when “bullshit” (as federalism advocate Sen. Koko Pimentel called it) hit the fan.

The assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has not offered any apologies for that controversial video that has her cheering on fellow blogger Andrew Olivar as he danced like a stripper, grabbed his crotch and chest and repeatedly chanted euphemisms for their equivalents in female anatomy in a live-streamed campaign.

True, there’s really nothing wrong with “pepe” (female genitalia) and “dede”(breasts). We grew up hearing these Filipino words referring to female anatomy.  There is nothing shameful about the female body.

But when these words are used with obvious lascivious undertones to promote “pederalismo” or the Duterte administration’s desire to shift to a federal government, can Uson blame critics for throwing words like “bastos,” and “baboy” to her face after the video aired Thursday?

Just before that, the level of discourse over federalism still involved debates over its acceptability among Filipinos, whether it will bring about real change in society and if proponents have hidden motives for supporting it.

Uson and Olivar changed all that. Pimentel, president of the PDP-Laban party that has promoted federalism since the late 1980’s, could barely hide his irritation.

Ilayo na po natin siya (Let’s pull her out of this project),” Pimentel appealed to government officials responsible for the awareness program on federalism.

The senator said “decision-makers” in Malacañang must “reconsider” Uson’s involvement in dissemination because her video “has not been beneficial to the cause.” He added Uson owes it to the public to study federalism first and take a leave from her job.

Fellow senators were more forthright.

Senate President Tito Sotto, who made a career out of comedy before joining politics, said Uson and company’s “theatrical techniques… must be a joke.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros called the video an insult to women and a waste of government funds while Sen. Nancy Binay challenged Uson to ask herself whether she wants to focus on blogging or “being an assistant secretary.”

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan put Uson’s boss Secretary Martin Andanar to task and asked the official to explain why Uson’s work is tolerated by the PCOO.

As if it still mattered, Uson denied shooting the video inside her office in Malacañang or using government funds for the video. Besides, wasn’t Olivar the one gyrating onscreen and not her?

Those able to finish the video (said to be just a sneak preview) noted not only was the song-and-dance routine uncalled for, it was also clear neither Uson nor Olivar was prepared for the primary job of explaining the nature of federalism and why the country would benefit to shift to this form of government.

The bloggers were reading hard copies on camera. Olivar even stammered while reading his script, making his supposed spontaneous praise for federalism sound contrived.

Uson’s apologists cannot cover this blooper by saying it’s just “to lighten up things.”  A shift in the form of government is not a light thing. Neither is using female anatomy as a punchline in a government information effort.

Let us remember that women’s advocates have worked so hard for the rest of us to learn to uphold the dignity of women. It has taken them centuries. Neither they nor we deserve this.

Uson’s aberrant attitude toward her own gender is clearly mirrored in the lewd references to female body parts in her video.

But who could blame Uson? Has not the person who appointed her shown the same facetiousness when discussing women and women’s issues?

Senate President Tito Sotto, who made a career out of comedy before joining politics, said Uson and company’s “theatrical techniques… must be a joke.”

Former elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal hit the mark when he said he was too ashamed to show his face to former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and other members of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) that put together the draft federalism Constitution.

Imagine five months of intensive group discussions and individual studies on the 1987 Constitution reduced to “pepe” and “dede” in a song-and-dance number by a government official.

At present, people are placing bets that Uson will not be fired despite the gravity of her offense.

Her boss Andanar already claimed ConCom spokesperson Ding Generoso did not clear his decision to tap Uson for the federalism awareness project with the PCOO where Uson is duly employed. Which should already give us a hint of what is not to come.

Although the initial choice of Uson as federalism ambassador indicates the shallowness of this administration’s talent pool, the greater concern is still why wouldn’t anyone with the power to hire and fire admit she did wrong? And render punitive action of some sort, like giving her the well-deserved walking papers?


Photo courtesy of Mocha Uson Blog Facebook page

Read more:

The most outrageous quotes from Mocha Uson in the Senate Hearing for Fake News

Duterte’s errand list for the lawmakers according to his SONA

Would federalism address what ails the Philippines?

4 female leaders PH politics should watch out for

This creature called the people’s initiative

TAGS: Duterte federalism Mocha Uson PCOO pepedederalismo philippine communications operations office Philippine Government