Panelo surprised to learn Mocha party-list lost, says not sure what its name is

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2019 10:19 PM | Updated as of May 15 2019 10:30 PM

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and Mocha Uson. File

MANILA—Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Wednesday said he was surprised that the party-list group backed by Mocha Uson lost in the midterm elections.

"Bakit, talo si Mocha? Parang I can’t believe that," Panelo told reporters Wednesday.

The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte was also unaware of the party-list name backed by Uson, a former Palace communications assistant secretary.

" . . . Ano iyon, palagay ko hindi nakapagkampaniya ng ano iyon—ano ba'ng party-list niya in the first place?" Panelo said.

(She was complacent, what is her party-list in the first place?)

Uson is the first nominee of the AA Kasosyo party-list, which she said aims to help Filipinos, particularly overseas workers, become successful entrepreneurs. 

The party-list is at 73rd spot with 117,135 votes or 0.43 percent with 96.79 percent of election returns transmitted in the unofficial, partial tally as of 6:44 p.m. Wednesday.

Panelo said Uson may have been "overconfident" during the campaign period.

"Hindi siya nakakuha, isa lang ang ibig sabihin niyan: Hindi siya nag-concentrate sa pagkampaniya. Baka she was overconfident considering na she has 5 million followers and most of them are overseas na bumuboto. Kasi alam ko nangangampaniya siya for others," he said.

(It only means that she did not concentrate on the campaign. Maybe she was overconfident considering that she has 5 million followers and most of them vote overseas. I know she campaigned for others.)

Panelo said AA Kasosyo party-list could have had a better chance to win if it was named after her.

"Hindi naman Mocha ang partylist. Siguro kung Mocha party-list, aba’y baka overwhelming," he said.

(The party-list is not named after Mocha. If it were named after her, maybe the support was overwhelming.)

Asked whether he voted for AA-Kasosyo, Panelo responded: "Secret. Siyempre ang iboboto ko iyong mga gusto ni Presidente."

(I voted for those wanted by the President.)

Uson was among the celebrities that heavily campaigned for Duterte in 2016. She was later appointed communications assistant secretary in May 2017 but resigned last year after a string of gaffes and controversies.

The group backed by media personality Erwin Tulfo, ACT-CIS or Anti-Crime and Terrorism Through Community Involvement and Support, meanwhile, is leading the party-list race with 9.48 percent of the votes or 2,584,037.

Click here for ABS-CBN's election results: