Why Mocha is most qualified to run Duterte's social media communication machinery

Tuesday May 16, 2017 ()
USEC Mocha Uson

To many, Mocha Uson is their voice. She is the articulator of their politics. And to the OFWs who idolize her, she is the bridge that connects their voices to their distant homeland. She is seen by many Filipinos as a loyal protector of the President against those forces of destabilization who also have silenced, marginalized or ignored their voices.

Idolizing people is not new in our social experience. This is usually focused on celebrities in the entertainment industry, or in sports. Political figures have also become objects of idolatry, more so when they come in with a compelling narrative drawn from their political pedigree. And this is even more enhanced when the politician is from show business or is a sports personality.

The Mocha Uson phenomenon is a mere reflection of our predisposition to idolize, Mocha has the narrative. She is also a resident player in the entertainment world, as a dancer and a sex-blogger. And she has a clear place in the politics of representation, as one who articulates the hopes and dreams of a significant section of our citizenry.

Mocha lives and breathes in the underbelly of social media. She has proven this already, and it would not be an exaggeration if I say that from among us who dwell in social media, Mocha Uson is the undisputed top-seeded blogger. Her over 5 million social media followers, many of whom are deeply loyal, is indication of her power. My following in social media, as well as those of others, experienced a sharp increase when Mocha told her fans to follow us. She also was able to make a dent in the number of followers of Rappler when she initiated a campaign against it. She is fiercely loyal to the President, and is an important aggregator and mobilizer of political support for him.

Hence, Mocha Uson is strategically the most qualified to be in charge of the social media aspect of the communication machinery of the President.

It is in this context that the uproar, mainly from the anti-Duterte intelligentsia and social and political elites, over her appointment as assistant secretary is more indicative of a political bias, and less of a truthful expression of objective assessment of her qualifications. It is also evidence of their fear of Mocha's power to undermine their own social media campaigns.

Idolatry is always seen by the intellectual and political elites as irrational. They see Mocha Uson as a child of that irrationality.

Yet, when you weigh these with the facts, then it becomes apparent that those who judge her are the ones consumed by irrational anger, if not hatred or fear, that they forget to become logical.

Those who question Mocha Uson's qualification forget that she has a college degree, and that she has the experience. She may not have a degree in communication, but her experience in being an inhabitant, a leading one at that, of social media makes her highly qualified to oversee the social media operations of the President.

After all, she was appointed as assistant secretary in the PCOO, which aptly stands for "Presidential Communications Operations Office". The word "presidential" should disabuse the minds of people and clear up the confusion about her terms of reference. The PCOO works for the President. It doesn't have direct supervisory function over the communication infrastructure of the line departments of government that have their own communication offices that operate autonomously from the PCOO.

One has to be reminded that Mocha Uson possesses more qualifications to run the social media operations of the President compared to when Leni Robredo was appointed to run the HUDCC.

There is also the moral issue thrown at Mocha, particularly on her being a sex blogger, a dancer entertainer, and a purveyor of fake news.

And this is where her detractors really don't get it.

It is indeed the height of hypocrisy that a political class that fell silent on the immorality of the PDAF and DAP can condemn Mocha for being a sexy dancer and a sex blogger. It is the height of selective moralism to condemn Mocha for what she did to earn a living, and then defend Leila de Lima from misogynistic attacks. It is ironic that people who tolerated Kris Aquino's public revelations of her personal scandals are scandalized by Mocha's physical nudity.

Noynoy Aquino was a product of a narrative, fully scripted and presented like an ABS-CBN production. Without it, he would not have redeemed his lackluster public record to become President. It is therefore untenable for those who idolize Noynoy to deny Mocha Uson the opportunity to redeem herself, using her own narrative. Furthermore, denying her that opportunity runs afoul of the sentiment of the masses who relate very well with narratives of redemption.

Mocha Uson may have propagated fake news. And so did Rappler, Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and other media organizations that occasionally printed inaccuracies and acted as propaganda mouthpieces for their preferred political lines.

Besides, Mocha Uson's actions will now be confined by the ethical rules governing the conduct of government employees. She can now be held accountable for lying using public funds.

Indeed, Mocha Uson's appointment as assistant secretary has become a litmus test that effectively revealed hypocrisy, if not selective morality, and prejudice. It's about time you asked yourself if you passed it.

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