Rappler file screenshot
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar blamed Consultative Committee (Con-Com) spokesman Ding Generoso for supposedly bypassing his authority in asking his assistant secretary Mocha Uson to help with the federalism information campaign.
Andanar, smarting from the outrage sparked by Uson's viral federalism jingle, held a press conference on Monday, August 6.
"I confronted spokesperson Ding Generoso today and I told him to disengage because he didn't ask permission from PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office). He went straight to Asec Mocha without informing me as the head of this department," said Andanar.
While Andanar was able to speak to Generoso, he has apparently been unable to discuss the matter yet with Uson, a member of his own staff.
He said he only managed to tell her, via a message, that he wanted to speak with her about the controversy.
"Once I get the explanation from her, we can talk again," said Andanar.
He then distanced himself from the video, which Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, a federalism advocate, called lewd. (READ: Senators raise hell over Mocha's 'vulgar, desperate' federalism video)
"This is not what the PCOO, what the entire inter-agency [body] talked about," said Andanar.
Generoso and Uson met on Friday, August 3, to discuss her role in the federalism campaign. According to Generoso, they agreed she would post on social media about federalism and the Con-Com's draft constitution, as well as interview experts about the issue.
Uson's possible participation in the campaign had been hotly discussed days before without any negative reaction from Andanar.
It was only on Monday, after outrage over Uson's video with Duterte supporter Drew Olivar, that Andanar called the press conference heaping blame on Generoso.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, said Uson likely had the "best of intentions" in posting the federalism jingle but said the issue deserves a more serious discussion.
"I think Mocha Uson had the best of intentions because she wants federalism to be talked about by people, by citizens.... But maybe when talking about federalism, the tone should be more serious because this is the Constitution, the highest law in the country," he said in a Davao Occidental press briefing.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself, said Roque, did not give the controversial jingle his "blessing."
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.