LEILA FOR MOCHA | Duterte’s staunch supporter finds unlikely ally in President’s archcritic

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Philstar file photos of Asst. Secretary Mocha Uson, President Rodrigo Duterte, and Sen. Leila de Lima

MANILA, Philippines – The staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte has found an unlikely ally in the archcritic of the chief executive.

On Tuesday, May 15, detained Sen. Leila de Lima excluded herself from the throng of Mocha Unson’s bashers and gave her good wishes days after the singer-dancer-turned-blogger was appointed assistant secretary for social media.

The lawmaker also urged Unson to use her new government post in helping the public discern truth from false information amid the spread of fake news or the so-called alternative facts that have become a big problem among journalists and media organizations.

“First of all, I congratulate Ms. Uson on her new appointment. I was also once a simple private citizen, who was suddenly given the chance to devote myself – my time, my education, my professional skills, my passion – to the service of our countrymen. So, in a way, I know how excited, honored and, perhaps, apprehensive Ms. Uson is to prove herself worthy of the trust given to her. Therefore, I sincerely wish her all the luck,” said De Lima in a statement.

“Secondly, I would be the first to defend her against attacks that focus on people’s perception of her character or morality, based on what she used to do for a living,” the senator said as she urged the public to stop crucifying Unson.

“I would ask people not to slut-shame her, to use her past career, relationships or sexual history to malign her, to subject her to misogynistic attacks, or any other form of ad hominem attacks, for that matter. Those things are personal to her, and that is between her and her God.”

‘Take care not to lace your tongue with the poison of lies’

At the same time, De Lima said she was hoping that Unson, as a public official whose income comes from people’s taxes, will be a purveyor of truth, rather than propaganda; of responsibly gathered and vetted facts and news, rather than so-called “alternative facts” and fake news.”

“She is no longer just a private blogger or social media personality; she is now a civil servant,” the lawmaker said.

Also, De Lima also advised Unson to be conscious of not just what she says but also of “how she delivers it.”

“I implore her to be more circumspect about her choice of words and way of saying them. I do not mean that she ought to use sophisticated words. In fact, I do encourage her to speak plainly. Plain but cleanly.”

“Be aware that our children are listening to us. Our future generations are taking their cue from us on how to express and carry themselves. I hope that Ms. Uson will prove herself a model of dignity – the dignity of a woman, a public servant – for our people, especially the youth of today.”

“Ms. Uson, it is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Take care of the instrument – your voice – that you are wielding. Take care not to lace your tongue with the poison of lies, misinformation, misdirection, manipulation, or doubletalk.”

“Resist the temptation of blindly following your President, who may ask you to apply your talent and gift to sow discord or to persecute those who displease him. In other words, I ask you to be a servant of the people because the product of your instrument – the information you disseminate, the thoughts you convey through your mouth, pen, or your keyboard – will have an impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos. It may spell the difference between nation-building and nation-destruction.”