Amid video controversy, Mocha's fate up to Ombudsman, says Palace

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 02:35 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday said it was leaving up to the Office of the Ombudsman the fate of Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, who is now facing a complaint over her controversial video supposedly mocking the deaf. 

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace would respect proceedings against Uson at the anti-graft body. 

“Let’s wait for the decision of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can already order the dismissal of anyone from government, because it is both an administrative and criminal case,” Roque said.

“Igagalang po ng palasyo ang proseso. Kapag sinabi ng Ombudsman na sibakin, hindi po natin tututulan.”

(The Palace will respect the process. If the Ombudsman dismisses her, we would not object.)

Asked whether the President may be expected to sack Uson, Roque said: “Sa ngayon po, hindi (For now, no).”

In a clip shared by Uson to her 5.7 million Facebook followers last week, blogger Drew Olivar can be seen mimicking sign language and making sounds in an apparent imitation of deaf people. Uson, who took the video, can be heard laughing in the background.

On Thursday, persons with disabilities and their supporters filed a complaint against Uson and Olivar at the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly mocking those using sign language.

In her affidavit, Carolyn Dagani, president of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf, said the video showing Olivar “inventing his hand movements” was “vulgar” and showed a “very dangerous public example for hearing people.”

The blogger and Uson "were laughing and making fun of us. Together, they stepped all over us and crushed us, killing our dignity," the complaint read. 

The Ombudsman will determine whether or not the pair should face administrative charges and be brought to trial for violating the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

Uson and Olivar have posted separate videos of apology to the deaf community.

The duo earlier drew flak for a controversial video featuring the jingle "pepedederalismo" - a play on the term federalism.

Duterte defended Mocha over the jingle, saying it was an exercise of the freedom of expression.