MANILA - Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson must appear in the next hearing for the Presidential Communications Operations Office's proposed 2019 budget, her superior said Sunday.
This, after the House of Representatives decided to defer the plenary deliberations on the office's proposed 2019 budget because of the absence of Uson last week.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Uson wasn't at the hearing because she was with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
"Siya ay ni-request ng Department of Foreign Affairs na magpunta doon para nga tulungan si Secretary Cayetano, mag-disseminate ng impormasyon sa mga kababayan natin," he in a radio interview.
ACT TEACHERS party-list Rep. France Castro moved the deferment of the PCOO budget proposal, stressing that Uson had been absent during the hearing last September 6.
Andanar said Uson would have attended the plenary debates had the lawmakers requested for her presence. He said they were just waiting for her to return home for the next budget hearing.
"Iyon na nga iyong naging epekto. Dinefer po iyong budget natin sa Kongreso at kailangan po talagang magpakita ni Asec. Mocha sa Kongreso," he said.
Uson is facing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly mocking the sign language in a video with blogger Drew Olivar.
Earlier this month, civil society group Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity or "LODI" questioned the PCOO's budget increase for 2019.
She also faced calls for her resignation following the uproar over the viral "pepedederalismo" video. But Andanar said only President Rodrigo Duterte can ask Uson to resign.
"Isang tao lamang ang puwedeng magpabitiw kay Asec. Mocha Uson at iyan po ay ang ating mahal na Pangulo dahil siya lamang ang appointing authority kay Asec. Mocha Uson," he said.