Right to free speech has limitations, says Lacierda

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2017 09:51 AM

MANILA - A former Palace official in the time of the Aquino administration on Thursday reminded Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson about certain limitations to freedom of speech now that she is already a government employee.

Speaking to ANC, former Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the standards that should be followed by a government official may have been poorly communicated to Uson by her superiors at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

"She tends to forget that she's now a government official and you have certain restrictions. You're not as free as you were as a private citizen. The basic reason is you're being paid for by taxpayers," Lacierda said Thursday.

The former presidential spokesperson said during their time, they also posted opinions on their personal Facebook accounts, but all of the things they post are the things that have already been relayed in the official statements they issued.

Uson, who handles the Social Media Office of the PCOO, has remained active in her Facebook Page, posting her mostly pro-administration opinions and at times allegations against some public officials.

One of these accusations went against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who she claims to be hiding ill-gotten wealth in several bank accounts -- accounts that the senator found out in a trip to Singapore are non-existent.

"Hers is propaganda, plain and simple. She spreads fake news. Let's cut to the chase, she is a promoter of fake news. She would bash, she would put out inaccurate information," Lacierda said of Uson, a vocal Duterte supporter before being appointed to office.

"Her incompetence reflects on the office. Her recklessness of facts infects the office," he added.

Lacierda, a presidential spokesperson for 6 years, said what the public witnessed during the "fake news" hearing at the Senate was the difference between the old and present presidential communications team.

"They saw the difference between the old communications office and the present communications office. The quality of the way we communicate, the way we conducted ourselves... We never spread false news. We had an Official Gazette," he said.

Moreover, Lacierda said during their time, they also had critics but they never called them destabilizers, the way critics of President Rodrigo Duterte have been branded by vocal administration supporters .