Mocha Uson's Senate qualification? ‘Genuine heart for Filipinos,’ says Alvarez

PDP-LABAN BET? Mocha Uson speaks to the crowd present at an April 2017 'Palit Bise' rally at the Quirino Grandstand. File photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

PDP-LABAN BET? Mocha Uson speaks to the crowd present at an April 2017 'Palit Bise' rally at the Quirino Grandstand.

File photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Having suffered a drastic drop in net satisfaction ratings last October, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez must know how much popularity, perceived or otherwise, matters. Thus, as PDP-Laban secretary-general, he is pushing for the inclusion of Mocha Uson, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) assistant secretary for social media, in the ruling party's senatorial slate.

“I really believe that Mocha would be a very good candidate,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the anniversary celebration of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday, November 20.

Uson – an entertainer-turned-blogger-turned-government official – has 5.4 million followers on Facebook, but has also been criticized for spreading false information.

Still, Alvarez – himself no stranger to controversy, having been entangled with his former close friend, Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr, over a graft complaint and feuding girlfriends – declared: "I think she’s qualified, yes. I think she has a genuine heart for the Filipino people." 

Uson said she was surprised by Alvarez’s announcement in Cebu City about her inclusion in PDP-Laban's senatorial slate and declared she wouldn’t run unless President Rodrigo Duterte himself told her to. Duterte has said it's best to "let the people decide." 

Uson is just one of Alvarez's nominees to the administration party's senatorial line-up, according to Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, who said party leaders have yet to decide on her inclusion.

Alvarez, who is expected to be national campaign manager of PDP-Laban, has been revealing the ruling party’s prospective lineup for the 2019 senatorial slate.

Thus far, the list is led by Pimentel himself, several House members, Uson, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. (READ: Get to know Alvarez's 6 nominees to the PDP-Laban 2019 senatorial slate) – with a report from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com