EVERYONE deserves a chance, of course. Each one of us is given a chance to prove his worth, a chance to correct mistakes, a chance to change…hopefully for the better, not worse.
Yes, even Mocha Uson deserves a chance to re-invent herself and be better known as Margaux Justiniano Uson rather than the way she gained popularity as a stripper or an erotic dancer.
Her recent appointment as a board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) gives the 34-year-old entertainer a chance to become a responsible communicator, from being a blogger who dishes out biased and unchecked information to her million-plus followers.
While Uson’s appointment is a clear example that professional competence is not given premium consideration in public service, it shows that public service is open even to those who have nothing to hide, physically, that is.
Uson has apparently shed her personality as an exotic dancer. She’s all covered up now when she appears in public functions. In that aspect, perhaps she has changed for the better.
Her statement that she accepted the MTRCB post on condition that she would not receive the corresponding salary is commendable. She said she would rather donate the money to Duterte’s Kitchen, which serves free food to street kids, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
How many would be willing to devote time to public service without compensation? But how will she earn her living? Will she not be working full-time as MTRCB member, leaving her little time to pursue other work that will provide her an income? That would be unfair.
Let us also not forget that Joseph Estrada, now on his second term as mayor of Manila, said he did not receive any salary as mayor of San Juan for 17 years from 1969 to 1986, then as senator for six years, vice president for another six years, and president of the Philippines for three years.
Estrada quit schooling and pursued a career in show business where he earned a lot as a movie actor and producer.
If Estrada did not receive any compensation during his long stint in public office, how come he was convicted of plunder in 2007? Plunder is simply defined as amassing ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P50 million through a series or combination of criminal acts in cahoots with relatives, friends, or business associates.
We have heard some people say that a corrupt person may very well forgo receiving the official compensation because the salary may be just a drop in the bucket, so to speak, compared to the other forms of money that he or she would be making as a result of occupying the office. Or, as rendered in Tagalog, “patak lang ang sweldo kumpara sa sahod.”
I am not saying that Estrada or Uson were involved in illicit activities that gave them either “blood” or “smiling” money, but public service is more than forgoing or donating your salaries to charity.
What I am saying is that we should not swallow what they say, which they say in the name of public service, hook, line, and sinker. At the same time, Uson deserves a chance to prove her worth. Hopefully, the administration she serves will also give a chance to suspected drug dependents to change their ways and become responsible citizens, or even a chance to go away in the same way that the “big” drug and gambling personalities–the likes of Peter Lim and Jack Lam–escaped legal responsibility.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar should just have stopped at describing Uson as an artist. He should not have continued praising her as “one of the biggest artists that we have in the country”.
She may have been in show business “for more than a decade” but her presence is not something that’s appealing to a general audience. She may be “one of the biggest bloggers that we have in the Philippines, very influential,” but her blog posts have not been fair and objective to be considered responsible.
I also disagree with Senator Tito Sotto that Uson was “a very good choice” for the MTRCB post “because she abounds with common sense and knows the pulse of the public well.”
I also don’t quite agree with former MTRCB board member Leah Navarro’s reaction to Uson’s appointment, questioning her work as a blogger that supposedly qualified her for the appointment.
“Blogging is not a qualification for appointment to the MTRCB. Which industry is she representing? Is she multi-awarded?” Navarro said in her Twitter account.
In another tweet, Navarro said, “Will soft porn finally be rated PG?”
Please don’t misconstrue this piece as a defense of Uson. I don’t like her, but let’s give her a chance. Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany. Perhaps her appointment will be an epiphany not only for her and the administration she serves.
The Philippine Star has given Uson a chance to embrace change by legitimizing her role in the mainstream media by giving her column space in the newspaper.
From her recent statements, Uson appears to be trying hard to change her image of a “porn” starlet, a striptease or erotic dancer, a bump-and-grind performer. She has to work really hard to do that.
In the spirit of the feast of the Epiphany, I can only wish that Uson will be able to grasp reality and be a responsible public servant, not a blind follower and rabid supporter of somebody who seems to believe in idolatry.
She should drop that Mocha image and live a reformed life as Margaux Uson!#