MANILA -- (UPDATED) A member President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee expressed disgust over a video about federalism posted on the Facebook page of Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson.
The video posted Thursday was an episode of "Good News Game Show" featuring Uson and social media personality Drew Olivar who danced at the start of the show, cheering "Ipepe, ipepe. Idede, idede. Ipede, pede, pede, pederalismo!"
On his Twitter account, former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal called the video, which supposedly supports the government's campaign for federalism, "disturbing" because of the use of toilet humor and sex on a very important issue.
"I agree and I am disgusted," replied Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, member of the consultative committee that earlier submitted a draft of a federal charter to Duterte. Both Aquino and Larrazabal agreed that intellectual discussions are needed on such a serious matter.
The video on Uson's page also drew flak from some Filipinos online, disappointed over the attempt to promote federalism.
Mocha: No public funds used in game show video
In a Facebook video posted Sunday, Olivar slammed those who criticized him, saying it's the critics who are putting malice to the lyrics of the cheer. He also stressed that the video also tried to explain federalism through trivia in the course of the game show.
"Kayo ang makukuwan ang mga pag-iisip. Ang dudumi ng mga pag-iisip ninyo.... Ang dami-daming mga trivia doon sa video, ang dami-daming magagandang nasabi about sa pederalismo. Pero bakit 'yan lang ang inyong napansin," he said.
"Parang may sinabi na, 'diyan lang ba napunta yung P90 million?' Hindi pa nga nabibigay 'yung budget di ba? Hoy para sabihin ko sa inyo. Hindi ako nababayaran dahil mayaman ako," he added, referring to the supposed fund for the federalism information drive.
In the controversial video, Uson clarified that the episode does not concern the consultative committee draft. The Communications official also said the video was just "for fun" and "general information" about federalism.
"Itong game natin ay walang kinalaman sa draft ng consultative committee o yung ConCom. Hindi po ito 'yun at ito ay for fun lang po. General information. Para lang maging aware tayo kung ano 'yung pederalismo. Hindi po ito 'yung information dissemination natin at walang kinalaman 'yung ConCom dito," she said.
She also clarified in a video posted in her blog Sunday night that no public funds were used in the online game show, which was shot before any representative of the consultative committee talked to her.
The government official stressed that she is neither a spokesperson nor ambassador of federalism, as she was only one of the people tapped to help in the social media campaign on federalism.
"Wala pong inilabas na pera dito sa video na ito o sa game show na ito. Walang pera, walang budget, hindi po binayaran si Drew," she said.
"Hindi po ako ang spokesperson ng federalism, hindi po ako ang ambassadress ng federalism. Isa lang po ako sa mga tutulong para isulong ang kampanya ng federalism sa social media,"she added.
In one portion of the game show video, Olivar described federalism as follows: "Ito ang mode ng government kung saan mayroong central or federal government na sakop ang buong bansa, at meron ding pamahalaan ang bawat rehiyon—mapaprobinsiya o estado—na sumasaklaw sa kani-kanilang teritoryo, yaman at tao."
"Ang federalism, parang rainbow 'yan. Kita ninyo 'yung rainbow? Di ba seven ang kulay na magkakaiba at kanya-kanya ang guhit. Pero pinagsama-sama sila sa isang hilera, at ganda-ganda nila. Ganda ng sumulat nito! (laughs) Ganyan ang layunin ng federalism, na sa kabila ng ating pagkakaiba, kaya nating mag-shine nang sama-sama," he added.
He said some of the countries that follow a federal government structure are the United States, France, at Singapore. However, France and Singapore are not under a federal government.
In a Facebook post last July 30, Fr. Aquino wrote that he will stop writing the primer on the consultative committee's draft federal charter if Uson will be tapped to explain federalism.
"You use actors, actresses and Mocha when you want something raved about. That's called finagling. But when you want people to understand and to discern, you get serious and you ask the clowns to return for the intermission," he added.
The consultative committee's spokesperson Ding Generoso earlier said Uson can be a boost to information dissemination on federalism if she writes about it on her newspaper column or online blog, considering her wide reach on social media.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar had clarified before during a Senate probe that Uson's blog does not represent the Presidential Communications Operations Office.