"I'm going to consider all his suggestions sa approach ko sa blog kung makakabuti ito sa bayan."
Communications Assistant Secretary and blogger Margaux "Mocha" Uson is identified as one of the staunchest supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, was put on the hot seat yesterday when the Senate conducted an investigation re the spread of fake news online.
Assec. Uson was told by the senators that she cannot separate her two (2) personalities as “blogger Uson” from the “government official Uson.” *
|Communications Assitant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes in a rare photo op (photo credit to ABS-CBN News)|
Assec. Mocha Uson maintains a blog that has over 5 million followers and has been influential and beneficial to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, but has been criticized for sharing fake news, outdated stories, and inaccurate photos.
In her defense Uson said she has the right to express her opinions on her blog, and is considered a personal space. “Opinion place po ang blogging,” the Assec said.
Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Banaag came to Uson's defense, stating that Assec. Uson understood that she is solely responsible for the comments she makes in her blog and it is not an official stand of the office to which she is a part of. That the Facebook blog she maintains already existed prior to her appointment as Assistant Secretary and was allowed by Malacañan to maintain it.
Trillanes meets Mocha in the Senate
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he will not drop the cases he has filed against Assec. Uson.
"While I appreciate the friendly gesture of Ms. Mocha Uson to have a photo taken with me, it doesn't change the fact that, as a senior public official, committed criminal offenses that warranted the filing of multiple cases. Sa madaling salita, tuloy tuloy lang ang mga kaso," Trillanes said in a statement. *
The opposition senator filed three (3) libel cases against Mocha Uson for alleged violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and graft charges for allegedly using her position to propagate false information.
Senator Trillanes also sued Uson for allegedly violating the code of ethics for continuing to perform in shows with her girl group despite her public position.
Trillanes said Uson is a representative of government, so there is no line separating her official position from the personal opinions on her blog.
"Kapag Mocha Uson Blog ang nagsalita, part siya ng PCOO as a senior official, then it is part of PCOO's (Presidential Communications Operations Office) dissemination," the opposition senator said
Senator Trillanes added, "You have extra responsibility. As government officers, we are held to higher standards."
Senator Grace Poe told Assistant Secretary Uson that she must verify the information she posts and shares, especially because the office she works for is considered the government's "information central."
"It doesn't mean that if it's published, it means it's reliable. Hindi dapat nag-po-post nang hindi nagche-check," senator Poe said.
“Blogger ako, hindi journalist”
PCOO Assec. Mocha Uson said in the senate hearing that she is also a victim of fake news perpetuated by mainstream media outlets that has allegedlyspread lies about her. *
Opposition member senator Bam Aquino, asked her if she ever sought the minority bloc’s opinion on the stories she published in her blog about them.
Uson answered tht she is a blogger not a journalist, as distinguished from those of the mainstream media.
"You have a strong influence to the public. Gamitin mo 'yan in a positive way. You can promote, defend, explain policies. That way, hindi hateful yung cyberspace natin," Trillanes said.
"You have to decide kung gagamitin mo ang blog na 'yun to promote and defend Duterte or explain his policies, by all means gamitin mo. Pero ang ayaw natin 'yung gagamitin mo ang medium to spread misinformation at deniability na hindi 'yan government kasi personal mo," said senator Trillanes.
Senator Nancy Binay in her moment to ask questions, asked Assec Mocha Uson to decide which path she wants to take or pursue.
"Maybe it's high time for you to decide kung gusto mo maging blogger o gusto mo maging Asec," senator Binay said.
After all the senators was able to ask Assec. Mocha Uson she made the last statement in the senate by saying : "I'm going to consider all his suggestions sa approach ko sa blog kung makakabuti ito sa bayan." *
Reports from cnnphilippines & abs-cbn website