'Killing our dignity': PWDs, supporters sue Mocha, over sign language jest

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 10:48 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2018 12:21 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Members and allies of the Persons With Disabilities community filed a complaint against Communications Asec. Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar at the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly mocking those using the 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.”

“Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar were laughing and making fun of us. Together, they stepped all over us and crushed us, killing our dignity,” Dagani said.

Dagani said Uson should resign or be removed from office.

“Maybe resign, taken out of the position, whatever,” Dagani said, through an interpreter.

The video, which was posted on Uson’s blog, was widely criticized by PWDs and other netizens prompting the outspoken official to issue a public apology. 

But Dagani said the community was not accepting Uson's apology.

“No, we don’t accept, there are so many deaf people I have asked and they would not accept,” Dagani said.

Another complainant, Dr. Liza Martinez, Executive Director of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center, said the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including four local laws, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Civil Code, Cybercrime Law and the Magna Carta on Disabled Persons, may apply against Uson and Olivar.

“Meron kasing specific section dun regarding the ridicule of persons with disabilities,” Martinez said.

Lauro Purcil, Convenor of the Philippine Coalition on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reminded Uson that she should set a good example as a public official.

“Siya ay government high-ranking official at siya ay dapat magbigay ng tamang halimbawa at tamang impormasyon na may paggalang sa tao sa mga kapwa naming may kapansanan,” Purcil said.

Aside from the complaint from the PWD community and their allies, Uson also has pending civil and criminal complaints before the Ombudsman filed by Akbayan Youth and Senator Antonio Trillanes on “fake news” and her performance inside a casino. - with a report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News