PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Harry Roque Jr.’s pithy comment on Mocha Uson’s resignation from her government post hit it right on the head: “Lagot silang lahat kay Mocha.”
The term “lagot” is one of those Filipino words so nuanced and precise that it is difficult to translate into English. I’d translate Roque’s comment very roughly to: “Mocha’s (and her idol President Duterte’s) enemies are in big trouble now.” Indeed, as a government official, she had to pull her punches. No longer does she need to now.
Her resignation put her prominently in the front pages of all major broadsheets — surprisingly even the Yellow-controlled ones — and even tabloids, in several even above the newspaper’s fold, which means her photo will be seen even by people who don’t buy the newspaper.
The narrative is so positive for her. She wasn’t fired by President Duterte which would have meant that she has become a liability. She made a “personal sacrifice” so that the Yellow and Red congressmen won’t be able to use her as an excuse for dragging their feet in passing the budget of her office, the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Her resignation letter shows that her fame has not at all gone to her head, as she thanked Duterte for giving her a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for appointing her as Assistant Secretary. She even assured the President that “my loyalty to your administration has not wavered.”
With the newspaper coverage of her resignation (and her column in the Philippine Star), Uson has broadened her base from the 5.6 million followers of her blog to include 1 million print media newspapers (including pass-on readership) readers. With her looks and communication skills honed over many years, it would be cinch for her to expand her reach to broadcast media.
What more do you need to be a household name to win a Senate seat? I think she has now become more popular to win a Senate seat than those whom a recent poll claimed are leading such a race: Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.
What Mocha has going for her, which these three don’t have, is that she has portrayed herself an ordinary Filipino, which explains why she has amassed 5.6 million followers, many of whom are OFWs abroad or are from the lower classes. She speaks in Filipino, in the manner of ordinary Filipinos. Even her hairdo does not seem to be the kind well-to-do women get from expensive salons.
Just take a look at the list of the top 12 that poll claimed Filipinos will vote as senator next year, with among those occupying the 11 to 17 slots including Sergio Osmeña, Mar Roxas and Bong Revilla who have disappeared from the front pages.
Mocha is a shoo-in for the Senate. She knows how to shock people, which would be a huge advantage in this media-driven electoral contests.
This is despite the fact that she is really from the upper-middle class: her father was a regional trial court judge who was assassinated in 2002 and her mother is a pediatrician, whose footsteps she appears to have wanted to follow when she took up a medical technology degree at the UST.
The elites and their representatives hate her for her background as a “sexy dancer” and for posting sex-education youtube videos years ago. She knows this, and has been fighting back — which endears her more and more to the masses who hate the elites and their hypocritical mores.
A popular blog GetRealPhilippines put it quite well: “Now that Mocha Uson has resigned from government, she will be free to do what she does best — entertain and influence the Filipino masses. Freed from the ‘conventions’ demanded of government officials, Uson will be able to shape her role in Philippine society based on what suits her and her followers best. “
Being no longer in government, Mocha will be free to criticize non-performers and even the corrupt in Duterte’s government — which will portray her not just as a fanatic Duterte follower, but a crusader for good government, which will attract more voters to her. The “sila” in Roque’s “lagot silang lahat” would include those in this government.
Lying PDI writers
I am astonished at the brazenness of the lies being spread by Philippine Daily Inquirer opinion writers. One recently wrote: “By Amnesty International’s count, there were 70,000 imprisoned, the 34,000 tortured, the 3,240 killed during martial law.”
That is a total canard. The AI has only four reports on the human rights situation during martial law issued in 1974, 1975, 1981, and 1988, after its team did research in the Philippines. I have copies of these, which may be accessed at its website https://www.amnesty.org. Nothing in these reports mention those figures claimed by that lying PDI writer. The AI has never issued a tally of how many were imprisoned, tortured and killed. Much of its reports were narratives of people who claimed to have been arrested or tortured – most of whom though were NPA guerrillas and top communist party leaders.
Instead, the AI in its 1981 monitor even quoted a report by Marcos’ Command for the Administration of Detainees that from 1,913 “public order violators “ held in 1980, its euphemism for those detained for being suspected as being part of the communist or Muslim insurgency, the figure had gone down to 344 in 1981. The 50,000 to 70,000 reported so often in the Yellow media were those detained even only for one day in the first two weeks of Martial Law, most of whom were released by the second year.
A worse case of lying (or madness because of her hate for Marcos) was in the claim of another PDI opinion writer that among the victims of Martial Law were “Lean Alejandro, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Ka Lando Olalia, labor leader, who was abducted and killed and his mouth stuffed with newspapers.”
Alejandro was killed in September 1987 while Olalia with his driver Leonor Alay-ay in November 1986, during which Cory Aquino was in power, who did nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. There were allegations that it was the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) that was crucial in putting Aquino to power that were responsible for the killings, as a warning for both the Left and Aquino not to collaborate with the communists.