Mocha Uson, a controversial supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is back in the government, this time with authority over the well-being of millions.
The government announced yesterday that Duterte had appointed the former actress, singer and failed electoral candidate to look after the welfare of millions of overseas Filipino workers, four months after she failed to win a party-list seat in the midterm elections.
As expected, her appointment to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was met with criticism. Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said it was illegal under a constitutional clause which prohibits the appointment of a defeated candidate to a government post, ABS-CBN reported. Disputing that was elections commission spokesman James Jimenez, who said that party-list nominees are not covered by the ban.
As deputy director of the welfare administration, Uson will have a direct role in its mandate to prepare and assist the 2.3 million Filipinos Philippines Statistics Authority says work overseas, as of last year.
Prior to her failed attempt at electoral politics, Uson worked as an assistant secretary for the government’s communications office, where she became infamous for spreading fake news online. In 2017, the hashtag #FireMocha went viral on Twitter after netizens criticized her for spreading false information about opposition senators and Vice President Leni Robredo. That same year, a group of youth activists filed a complaint against her with the government ombudsman’s office because of her propensity for spreading bogus information.
Uson stayed on, however. It took a lewd cheer dance she performed with a friend in a viral Facebook video — in which they repeatedly chanted “breasts” and “vagina” in Filipino — that led to widespread outrage and her resignation in one year ago.
Her loss in the election led many to believe it was the end of Uson’s political career, but yesterday’s announcement showed she isn’t going anywhere. Naturally, netizens were unhappy.
“Climate activists: CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!!! This government: *Recycles Mocha Uson*,” @Sosyolohija tweeted.
Parody account @MalacananEvents edited a photo of Uson to make it appear that she was learning basic geography for her new job.
@Nad0227 was more outraged than amused.
“What’s so surprising about mocha uson being appointed to another government position? Haven’t we gotten used to seeing trashy government officials in this administration?” they tweeted.
“[O]kay so some trash are not meant to be recycled like garbage waste, pvc plastics & mocha uson,” wrote @Raineeejacob.
“Sorry, but it’s crazy how ‘OFW rights advocates’ who always complain about the offices of the OWWA and the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) to say ‘OFWs deserve better’ are now supporting the appointment of Mocha Uson. That’s just so plastic. We know that you know she doesn’t deserve the post,” wrote @donkevinhapal.
The POEA is responsible for monitoring the recruitment of Filipinos for overseas jobs.