MANILA (UPDATE)– Malacañang has launched an investigation into reports that Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson was spotted performing at a casino hotel in Pasay City in violation of a government ban.
Uson, a member of the pro-administration sexy dance group Mocha Girls, has been seen in various social media posts performing at Bar 360 of Resorts World Manila.
A Resorts World Manila employee confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Uson has been performing at the bar, located in the middle of the hotel’s gaming area at the ground floor.
Uson’s boss, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, told reporters in a text message that his office is now looking into the matter just as Uson, a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, drew flak.
"Mocha asked permission to honor her entertainment contracts when she joined government. Anyhow, we are still looking into the matter of Mocha performing inside RW," he said.
Andanar added that Uson may still perform but "I would discourage her from performing in places like casinos."
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also said a "proper investigation" by the Presidential Communications Operations Office must be launched.
"Policy needs to be complied with but, in this matter, it needs to be properly vetted," Abella told reporters.
Malacañang’s Memorandum Circular No. 6 prohibits government officials, members of the Armed Forces, and individuals aged 21 and below from entering, staying, or playing in casinos.
“[The] mere entry or presence of government officials and employees in a gambling casino shall be considered as conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, unless the same was in the performance of official duties and functions,” the memorandum states.
It explicitly says "all government officials and employees shall strictly observe and comply with all pertinent laws, issuances and policies prohibiting government personnel to enter, stay, or play in gambling casinos."
Uson was appointed to her current position last May. Prior to this, she served as board member of the Movie And Television Review And Classification Board.
President Duterte has repeatedly vouched for Uson, citing her support during the campaign.
Uson, who has a massive following on social media, is considered a vital part of the administration’s communications and public relations arsenal.