PRESIDENTIAL Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson still enjoys President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust and confidence, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Uson refused to say sorry for her attack against the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. despite Duterte’s issuance of an apology.
“She (Uson) hasn’t been fired. For as long as she hasn’t been fired, she enjoys trust and confidence because all presidential appointees serve at the pleasure of the President,” Roque said during a press conference.
Uson incurred Kristina Bernadette “Kris” Aquino’s ire when she posted a video clip comparing Duterte’s kiss with the smack a woman stole from her father before he was shot dead at the then Manila International Airport in 1983.
Duterte, through his top aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, apologized to Aquino for a Facebook post that had caused her deep hurt, saying it had disrespected her late parents.
“Kris reached out to me and we conveyed our apologies for the incident concerning her and Mocha,” Go said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday. “We understand the emotions of both sides since both leaders are well-respected and loved.”
But Uson, in a 23-second video, said on Wednesday that her post on the former senator’s getting kissed on a plane in 1983 “was not about Kris Aquino.”
“Tungkol ito sa paglagay ng malisya sa isang halik. Itinumbas lang sa gawain ng ibang lider tulad ng tatay niya. (This is about putting malice in a kiss. I just compared the actions of other leaders like her father). Ms Aquino, this is not about you,” Uson said.
In a later post, Uson said: “With all due respect to everyone involved, I decline to apologize for the truth.”
The younger Aquino took exception to Uson’s post as she said it spurned the memory of her father and mother, former president Corazon Aquino, who could not defend themselves as they had passed away.
In a 17-minute live video on Facebook and Instagram Tuesday night, Aquino said she was ready to face Uson “anytime, anywhere.”
Ending the word war, Aquino again went live on social media on Wednesday and conceded to Uson.
“Mocha, you win. You win because you hurt me and I think that’s what you wanted to do,” she said in a Facebook live video.
Uson has been repeatedly accused of peddling misleading information and fake news on her Facebook blog, which has more than five million followers.
During the first Senate investigation on fake news in October — where Uson was put on the hot seat — she defended her right to express her opinions on her Facebook blog, which she insisted was a personal space.
Amid all the criticisms against Uson, Roque was asked whether she was an asset or a liability to the administration.
“Well, ang sinagot po ni SAP Bong Go, no comment. I don’t see any reason why I should deviate from that. As I said, please verify or get the opinion of SAP Bong Go because the information came from him,” Roque said.
A former entertainer and blogger, Uson supported Duterte’s presidential run in 2016. She was first appointed as board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board before Duterte transferred her to the Presidential Communications Operations Office as assistant secretary for social media in May last year.
Uson is currently facing a complaint from youth leaders who petitioned the Office of the Ombudsman to remove her from office for supposedly spreading disinformation. CATHERINE S. VALENTE