BEING a senior official of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson is no longer entitled to publicly express her personal opinions because her job is to “draw the official line of the government.”
This was insisted Wednesday by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th during the anticipated face-off between him and Uson at the inquiry of the Senate public information and mass media committee on “fake news.”
In a light moment, Trillanes said he did not plan to attend the inquiry until he heard Uson say that she missed the opposition senator, who had charged her with cyber-libel before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Uson responded: “You look good in person, Mr. Senator. And that’s not fake news.”
Trillanes later confronted Uson on some of her social media posts containing attacks against the opposition, as well as alleged misinformation. The senator cited Uson’s post about his supposed foreign bank accounts.
During the hearing, the senator showed the PCOO official several posts on her widely followed Facebook page “Mocha Uson Blog” and other social media sites, and asked what was she thinking when she did it.
Uson told the committee she was only sharing other people’s posts, while some were her personal opinions.
Trillanes then asked Uson is she had “filter,” or someone who reviewed and vetted the accuracy of her social media posts. The PCOO official said there was none.
“That is what I’m saying, you are not entitled to your own personal opinion being a public official at the PCOO, that is the difference. Other government officials can have their own opinion but you as assistant secretary for social media [cannot],” he told Uson.
Uson then insisted that if Trillanes had the right to express his opinion, she, too, was entitled to such right.
‘Promote, not hate’
Instead of spreading hate, Trillanes urged Uson to use her blog to promote, and help explain, government policies to the public.
Uson is facing multiple criminal complaints filed by Trillanes for posting on the internet offshore accounts supposedly belonging to the senator.
The PCOO official, a former entertainer, is also facing complaints of grave misconduct and violation of the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, for performing at a casino in Pasay City.