MANILA—Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday defended newly-appointed Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson from attacks that focused on her career before she joined the Duterte cabinet.
Uson, a staunch supporter of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, used to be a member of an all-girl dance group, Mocha Girls. Aside from being a blogger, she also wrote for men’s magazines.
Prior to her becoming Assistant Secretary, Uson was appointed as member to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) last year. However, her designation as MTRCB member was relinquished after her new appointment.
“I would be the first to defend her against attacks that focus on people’s perception of her character or morality, based on what she used to do for a living,” De Lima said in a handwritten statement.
“I would ask people not to slut-shame her, to use her past career, relationships or sexual history to malign her, to subject her to misogynistic attacks, or any other form of ad hominem attacks, for that matter. Those things are personal to her, and that is between her and her God,” she added.
De Lima has had her fair share of misogynistic attacks for her controversial relationship with her former security aide, lover and alleged drug money bagman Ronnie Dayan.
She said that like Uson, she was also once a private citizen “who was suddenly given the chance” to devote herself to the service of Filipinos and sent her best wishes on her success.
“I congratulate Ms. Uson on her new appointment…In a way, I know how excited, honored and, perhaps, apprehensive Ms. Uson is to prove herself worthy of the trust given to her. Therefore, I sincerely wish her all the luck,” she added.
The detained senator, meanwhile, urged Uson to use her voice to be a servant of the people as the information she would disseminate will have an impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos.
“I hope that she will be a purveyor of truth, rather than propaganda; of responsibly gathered and vetted facts and news, rather than so-called “alternative facts” and fake news. She is no longer just a private blogger or social media personality; she is now a civil servant,” De Lima said.
She also urged her to be more circumspect about her choice of words and how she delivers them.
“I do not mean that she ought to use sophisticated words. In fact, I do encourage her to speak plainly. Plain but cleanly. Be aware that our children are listening to us. Our future generations are taking their cue from us on how to express and carry themselves,” she added.