Senators slam Mocha Uson for 'vulgar' federalism video

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — Several senators on Monday expressed disgust and dismay at Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for her crude video on federalism.

Senator Koko Pimentel said he didn't expect "the government's best and brightest" —referring to Uson — to insult the government's federalism campaign drive with her tasteless performance.

"Hindi galit but 'disappointed' that the best and the brightest appointed to this government can come up with only that kind of bullshit," he said in a statement.

He issued a stern warning to Uson to stay away from the information drive and take a leave from her post in the Presidential Communications Opererations Office (PCOO) to read more about the subject.

"'Di ko lubos akalain na bababuyin pala nila ang kawsa ng Pederalismo. Ilayo na si Mocha sa pederalismo. Mag-aral muna siya ng mabuti. Mag-leave muna siya," he said.

Uson, a front-liner in the multi-million massive information drive on the proposed shift to a federal form of government, was part of the viral video that she posted on August 2. In the video, blogger Drew Olivar was singing a jingle, playing with the word federalism using racy terms and gesturing towards female private parts — all to Uson's cheering.

 

"No assistant secretary should come up with a video like this. People will think this is official and it was funded by the government. She is no longer beneficial to the cause of federalism," Pimentel told CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday.

An initial budget of P90 million has been set for the federalism information campaign. Of this amount, P10 million will go to the PCOO for the production of information materials.

Senator Nancy Binay hit Uson for turning the complicated subject of federalism into an "amusement piece," insisting the messenger is important in getting the message across to the Filipinos.

"Nakalulungkot that the seriousness of the discourse has been downgraded to the lowest of forms," she said in a statement.

Binay on August 1 suggested to invite Uson as a resource person in the Senate's charter change deliberations. She said she wants to hear how the assistant secretary can "articulate or interpret the proposed federal charter."

Related: Sen. Binay wants to invite Mocha Uson to charter change hearings

Meanwhile, Senate President Tito Sotto said Uson's theatrics was not the proper way to educate the public on federalism.

"Theatrical techniques will not work to explain a very serious and highfalutin issue such as federalism!" he tweeted on Monday

Senator Chiz Escudero also said, "It is downright vulgar & has no place in the public discourse on such an important issue as THEIR proposed shift to federalism & charter change!"

Meanwhile, Senator Ralph Recto, who is against the proposed shift to federalism, said the antics of Uson reflect on those who push for charter change.

"She's the perfect endorser for federalism. She symbolizes those in favor of federalism."

Senator Ping Lacson, who earlier said the proposed charter change is good as dead, said Uson further killed the chance of the proposal to prosper.

"Without Mocha Uson, federalism is already dead and  awaiting cremation at the Senate. With Mocha Uson, the ashes should be thrown far, far away from the Philippines' 7,107 beautiful islands," he said in a statement.

ConCom member Ranhilio Aquino, in a tweet, expressed his "disgust" for Uson's choice to use sex and toilet humor to talk about federalism.

Aside from the vulgar video, Pimentel also pointed out the factual errors spewed out in the video.

Olivar and Uson, reading from their notes, inaccurately said Singapore and France have a federal form of government.

"Even without the dance and the song, listen to the statement they read. Mali-mali pa ang substance!" Pimentel said.

Mocha explains

Senator Kiko Pangilinan said PCOO should be held liable for its assistant secretary's vulgar acts.

"Kababuyan at kalaswaan ang tawag sa ginagawa nila at hindi public service. Ang pambabastos at pambababoy ng isang assistant secretary ay di dapat pinalalampas ng administrasyon," he said in a statement.

Pangilinan added, "Dapat magpaliwanag si Sec. Andanar sa mga kalaswaan at kababuyan na nangyayari sa kanyang tanggapan na ginagawa ng mga tauhan niya gamit ang pondo, oras, at kagamitan ng gobyerno."

[Translation: What they are doing is vulgarity, not public service. The administration should not take lightly the rudeness of an assistant secretary. Sec. Andanar should explain this obscenity that happened under his watch, done by his officials using government funds, time, and resources.]

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, instead of responding to the criticisms against Uson, clarified she was not officially appointed as federalism spokesperson.

"Asec Mocha was not appointed by the Pederalismo inter-agency. It was Spokesperson Ding Generoso's own volition," he said, referring to the spokesman of the Consultative Committee on charter change,

Uson also defended herself, saying the video was part of an online game show and was recorded prior to being tapped for the campaign.

Generoso on July 30 said they have tapped Uson to help raise awareness about federalism. Uson posted the live video on August 2.

"Wala pong inilabas na pera dito sa video na ito o sa online game show na ito... Hindi po ako ang spokesperson ng federalism. Hindi po ako ang ambassadress ng federalism. Isa lamang po ako sa mga tutulong para isulong ang kampanya ng pederalismo sa social media," she said on her Facebook page.

[Translation: No money was used for this video or online game show... I'm not a spokesperson for federalism. I am not an ambassadress for federalism. I am just one of those helping forward the federalism campaign on social media.]

The Con-com said she can blog about federalism to her over 5.6 million followers on Facebook. But in the same platform, she has been criticized for posting misleading information and inaccurate photos.

Binay proposed that the Palace bar all those who are not part of Con-com to join the federalism information campaign.

"At the moment, perhaps Malacañang can ask those who have no official business in speaking in behalf of the Consultative Committee to disengage from all activities relating to the information campaign about federalism," she said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who campaigned on a promise of charter change, is pushing for a shift to federalism by the time his term ends. However, recent surveys show a majority of Filipinos do not favor the change. A recent Pulse Asia poll also showed almost 7 in 10 Filipinos admitted to having little to no knowledge of the proposed federal system of government, prompting the government to beef up the information campaign on the issue.