MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said the University of Santo Tomas’ Alumni Association Inc’s decision to give an award to Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson validates President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to appoint her.
“We’re happy for Asec. Uson and I suppose that validates that her appointment was for good reasons. It is the oldest university in Asia after all, and to be given this recognition must be a source of honor for Asec. Uson,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.
The University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association Inc. said the award, which was also given to 18 other alumni in government service, was meant to "inspire and challenge" the recipients to lead the Thomasian core values.
"The sole criteria are for the recipient/s to be a graduate of the university of Santo Tomas and [to be] in government service. The recipients came from four levels of the government: House, Senate, Judiciary, and Executive," it said in a statement.
Uson, in a Facebook post, said the recognition was an honor that she dedicates to her mother and the public.
Uson earned a degree in medical technology from UST. She also attended medical school in the 400-year-old university before dropping out to pursue a career in the music industry.
As the leader of Mocha Girls, an all-female dance group, Uson rallied support for President Rodrigo Duterte during the lead-up to the 2016 elections.
Duterte appointed Uson as assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in May 2017. Prior to this, she served as board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
Uson, who has a massive following on social media, is considered a vital part of the administration’s communications and public relations arsenal.
The official, however, has been repeatedly called out for sharing erroneous stories to the nearly 5.5 million followers of her Facebook page, "Mocha Uson Blog."
Various UST student leaders have condemned the alumni association’s decision to give an award to Uson.