MANILA - The House of Representatives deferred the plenary deliberation on the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) proposed 2019 budget because of the absence of Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.
ACT TEACHERS party-list Rep. France Castro moved the deferment of the PCOO budget proposal, which was subsequently granted by the plenary.
"Kapansin-pansin na wala dito 'yung presence ni Asec. Mocha Uson. Tingnan niyo po. Ala-1 na pero andito pa ang secretary, mga undersecretary. Andito pa tayo dahil alam natin na mahalaga ang budget ng PCOO. Ito ang information arm ni Pangulong Duterte. Marami po akong katanungan, Mr. Speaker, na nakaukol sa opisina ni Asec. Uson," she said.
The P1.41 billion budget sought by the PCOO is higher than its budget of P1.38 billion in 2018.
When informed that Uson is reportedly out of the country, Castro pointed out that the assistant secretary has failed to attend the deliberations twice.
"Wala na nga si Asec. noong committee deliberations ng budget noong September 6. Ngayon, wala na naman si Asec. Ito na sana ang pagkakataong matanong siya. With that Mr. Speaker, i move to defer the budget of PCOO proper," she said.
Earlier this month, civil society group Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) questioned the PCOO's budget increase for 2019.
Uson is facing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly mocking the sign language.
She also faced calls for her resignation following the uproar over the viral "pepedederalismo" video.
- With reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News