Clavite: Uson should say sorry, go on leave
MANILA - The head of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on Tuesday said Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson should apologize and take a leave of absence following the controversy over her "pepedederalismo" video.
PIA Director General Harold Clavite, in a Facebook post, said a public apology from Uson is "paramount" in light of the public outrage sparked by her viral video.
"On the heels of PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson's latest blunder on the administration's campaign to push for federalism, a public apology from the PCOO official is paramount. Along this line is a call for her to take a leave of absence to reflect on these matters," he said.
"This is not only a seeming insult to our profession in communication and public information but also degrading to the women and mothers in our communities."
Clavite said Uson's actions since her appointment "have time and again proven to be in poor taste—a display of an utter lack of judgment and have maligned our profession as government communicators."
"My stand on this issue defends the integrity and intelligence of all government information officers, volunteers, and partners— many of whom women and mothers— across the nation, who are continuously working very hard to positively influence the Filipino public to make them responsible sharers of information and be able to contribute to the significant change the public information infrastructure of this country so badly requires," he added.
"As a public servant and being part of the PCOO family, I take great offense in Ms. Uson’s actions, which continuously damages the rectitude of my communication and public information agenda. I can no longer let her obscure and vilify my honest work in helping the President, this government, and this country, as well as the efforts that we have painstakingly and patiently put into place under my leadership in PIA for the past two years," Clavite said.
"We have been sitting idly by for too long, and it is about time that someone speaks up and hold erring officials accountable for repeatedly tarnishing the reputation of our government," he said.
Uson's video, which shows blogger Drew Olivar cheering for federalism using references to female body parts while doing a lewd dance, drew widespread flak from lawmakers, members of the consultative committee that drafted the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution, and social media users.
President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, seemed "cool" about the video but stressed that information dissemination on federalism must be done in a serious matter, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Uson and Olivar have defended the video, saying there was no malice and public funds were not used to make it.
The PIA serves as the country's main development communications arm. It is an attached unit of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, where Uson works.