Senators raise hell over Mocha's 'vulgar, desperate' federalism video

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Senators on Monday, August 6, denounced Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for her video on federalism and demanded an explanation from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

In a one-hour video posted on Thursday, August 2, on Uson's Facebook page of more than 5 million followers, Drew Olivar, her co-host in the "Good News Game Show," was seen singing "I-pepe" and "I-dede" while dancing and gesturing to his crotch and chest areas. He then yelled "I-pederalismo" at the end of the number.

"Pepe" and "dede" are colloquial words for vagina and breasts, respectively.

Uson defended the video, saying she and her co-host meant no malice.

She was tapped by the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) to help in the campaign for federalism. But now its members are also up in arms over the video. (READ: Con-Com 'up in arms' over Mocha Uson federalism video)

Below are reactions from some senators – ranging from the sarcastic to the furious:

Senate President Vicente Sotto III: 

You can just brush it aside. I think we just brush it aside. It won't work. And I am sure the PCOO will do something about it.... I’d rather not delve [into] personalities. Mas mabuting doon na lang sa isyu. That is not effective. That is not the way to disseminate information.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto: She’s the perfect endorser for federalism. She symbolizes those in favor of federalism.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III: 'Di ko lubos akalain na bababuyin pala nila ang kawsa ng pederalismo. Ilayo na si Mocha sa pederalismo. Mag-aral muna siya nang mabuti. Mag-leave muna siyaHindi [ako] galit (I am not angry) but disappointed that the "best and the brightest" appointed to this government can come up with only that kind of bullshit.

(I could not imagine that they would besmirch the cause of federalism. Mocha should be removed from the federalism campaign. She should study first. She should take a leave first.)

Senator Panfilo Lacson: Without Mocha Uson, federalism is already dead and awaiting cremation at the Senate. With Mocha Uson, the ashes should be thrown far, far away from the Philippines' 7,107 beautiful islands.

Senator Francis Escudero: It is a desperate attempt to attract attention by intentionally offending our sense of propriety! It is downright vulgar and has no place in the public discourse on such an important issue as their proposed shift to federalism and charter change!

Senator Cynthia Villar: This is federalism. This is a serious matter. This is revision of the Constitution, ayusin natin (let us fix) how we promote it in a more decent manner.... Ayusin nila 'yung federalism campaign nila. Hindi na nga popular ang federalism, magkaka-controversy pa na ganito. (They should do their federalism campaign properly. It's not good that there's a controversy like this, especially since federalism isn't even popular to begin with.)

Senator Nancy Binay: Nakalulungkot (It is sad) that the seriousness of the discourse has been downgraded to the lowest of forms. At the moment, perhaps Malacañang can ask those who have no official business in speaking in behalf of the Consultative Committee to disengage from all activities relating to the information campaign about federalism.

Ilagay na lang natin muna ang P90 million na pondo sa gamot para sa mga bata (Let us allot the P90 million meant for the federalism information drive for the medicines of children). Let it be better spent on medicines and assistance to flood and fire victims – at least we know health care is worth every centavo.

Opposition

Senator Francis Pangilinan: Kababuyan at kalaswaan ang tawag sa ginagawa nila at hindi public service. Ang pambabastos at pambababoy ng isang assistant secretary ay 'di dapat pinalalampas ng administrasyon. Dapat magpaliwanag si Secretary Andanar sa mga kalaswaan at kababuyan na nangyayari sa kanyang tanggapan na ginagawa ng mga tauhan niya gamit ang pondo, oras, at kagamitan ng gobyerno.

(Lewdness and vulgarity are what they're doing, not public service. This disgrace should not go unnoticed by this administration. Secretary Andanar must explain for the acts of his personnel using government resources.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros: Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson is the best promoter of President Rodrigo Duterte's fake federalism, infamous for its vulgarity and cheap antics to railroad it through an undemocratic and Senate-less charter change, postponement of the 2019 elections, and term extension. With her as promoter, the Duterte government's sham federalism now has zero credibility.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV: Hindi lahat ng bagay nadadaan sa kabastusan. Lalo na kapag kinabukasan ng bayan ang pinag-uusapan. Sana nabigyan ng respeto ang ating Konstitusyon at mga Pilipinong nagsakripisyo para rito. Sa halip, naging malaswang joke time lang ng administrasyon ang cha-cha at kalagayan ng bansa.

(Not all things can be done in a vulgar way, especially when the country's future is at stake. Our Constitution and the Filipinos who sacrificed for it should have been respected. Instead, cha-cha and the state of the nation have became subjects of a lewd joke of this administration.)

Following the Con-Com's initial decision to tap Uson, Binay earlier called on the dancer to present to the Senate the contents of her federalism lectures.

Lacson said charter change is practically dead in the Senate, as the measure remains pending in the committee level. (READ: Joint voting on Cha-Cha? Senate's problems, plans against it– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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