Mocha Uson asked to stop blogging using gov’t resources

Several resource persons in a Senate hearing on Tuesday, January 30, said that Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) assistant secretary Mocha Uson should stop maintaining a personal blog using government resources.

Sen. Grace Poe (middle), chair of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, quizzes government officials, media personnel, and bloggers present during the latest Senate hearing on the fight against fake news on Tuesday, January 30. Also in photo are (from L-R) Senators Bam Aquino IV and Manny Pacquiao. (PRIB Photo by Alexis Nueva España)

They also stressed Uson should decide whether to keep her government position or resign so she can express her personal thoughts through her blog.

Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the committee on Public Information and Mass Media, said that it was difficult to separate Uson’s personal opinion from that of the PCOO. Poe said Uson’s blog “overlapped” with her official functions as PCOO assistant secretary.

BusinessWorld editor-in-chief Roby Alampay said that as long as Uson is in government, there will be conflict if she has a private platform.

“If you are going to enter the government, let go of all your platforms. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to join the government,” Alampay said. “Anything you say will be attributed not just to you and your office but the government.”

Blogger Tonyo Cruz also stressed that Uson should not use public office, time, and funds to publicize her blog.

At the hearing, PCOO secretary Martin Andanar also said he will reach out to online groups supporting President Duterte and convince them to stop spreading misinformation and hate speech on social media.

While Andanar said that pro-Duterte websites and Facebook pages were established during the 2016 campaign when he was still a member of the mainstream media, the PCOO chief has committed that he will reach out to the members of the original core groups behind the websites and persuade them to stop spreading fake news and hate messages.

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV also urged the PCOO chief to police his own ranks, saying blogs written by some of his employees in their private capacity hurt the image of the agency.

“Sana siguruhin niyo na ang miyembro ng inyong opisina, hindi gumagawa ng misinformation, disinformation and hate speech,” Aquino told Andanar.

In addition, Aquino called on both supporters and detractors of President Duterte to stop throwing hate speech at each on social media, saying the environment has become horrendous.

“Iyong batikos walang namang problema, iyong kritisismo wala ring problema, pero kapag humahantong na sa peke, sa panloloko o sa mararahas na pananalita, sana magkaisa tayo na itigil na ito,” he stressed. — Azer Parrocha (PNA)

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