I PITY Margaux “Mocha” Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). Really. I say Sen. Manny Pacquiao must have found in her a kindred spirit. They both rose from the ranks to become political influencers, which means that they were not from the elite—or rich and intellectuals--to begin with. And the bashing they are getting for their failings mostly come from the said elite sector.
I have written an article or two about the Pacman recently. Let me take on Uson.
Uson’s latest blunder came in the form of a video she posted on her blog to promote a Duterte administration program: shifting the country’s political setup to a federal one. She so made a mess out of it even many of the diehard Duterte supporters (DDS) squirmed. The enemies she created during her rise to fame naturally pounced on her. And I pity her.
In ideal times, Uson would actually have been a model of success and widely admired. A member of a girl group that didn’t really make it big in showbiz, she found herself in the midst of an electoral campaign in 2016 that became a game changer as far as the use—or should I say misuse--of social media is concerned. Not only did her group became a fixture in Duterte’s campaign sorties, her blog was among those that gained wide following as the Duterte popularity rose.
The following of Mocha Uson Blog soon eclipsed not only those of other pro-Duterte blogs but even the readership of opinion makers—many of them towering intellectuals—in traditional media. She became spokesperson and social media leader of the DDS, or the brigade commander of the non-intellectuals battling the elite. When Duterte won, she got thrust into a world different from that where she began.
I see in Uson when she was appointed to the PCOO a Pacquiao transported from the boxing ring to the Senate halls. Their inadequacies became so pronounced they were only able to move around those corridors of power because of the modicum of respect they retained or was given to them, although grudgingly. But that respect eroded through time and as the Duterte magic vanished.
Yet politicians continued to use them as instruments to further their political intentions. When surveys showed that the federalism push wasn’t going anywhere, or is an unpopular proposition, the so-called Consultative Commission that came up with a draft federal constitution looked around and found Uson. Her inadequacies were obvious, but to politicians she was an influencer still.
Uson’s pro-federalism campaign naturally couldn’t transcend the milieu she is in and her intellectual level and background. Her “pepe-dede—ralismo” spin of the Duterte administration’s federalism push wasn’t totally unexpected. It was a poor copy of the Sexbomb Girls’ “how to” information drive produced by television giant GMA titled “Bilog na Hugis Itlog.” “itlog,” though, is no “pepe” or “dede.”
The Duterte administration will no doubt hold on to Uson despite this recent misstep. They will continue to exploit her and she will in turn allow herself to be exploited until she fully loses whatever social media influence she still has. That’s why I pity her.