OLD habits die hard.
Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday slammed Margaux “Mocha” Uson, deputy executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, for spreading “fake news” against her by posting on social media that the Vice President distributed only one bottled water and five pieces of pan de sal to each Taal Volcano evacuee in Batangas last Wednesday.
Robredo said it is an insult for Filipinos to provide the salary of one who does nothing but spread false information.
“Ako lang, parang sobrang insulto sa taumbayan na tayo iyong nagpapasuweldo ng isang taong ginawang trabaho iyong pagpapakalat ng fake news (To me, it’s too much of an insult to the people’s intelligence that we’re paying for the salary of a person who doesn’t do anything but spread fake news),” Robredo told reporters after attending a forum on a community-based drug rehabilitation program in Caloocan City.
The Vice President took exception to Uson’s claim that Robredo spent taxpayers’ money when she visited Batangas only to distribute pan de sal.
Robredo said there is nothing wrong with pan de sal but it would seem like an insult to the many volunteers who heeded her call for donations. She said the donors know what the contents of relief packs she distributed.
The claim that Robredo and her office only donated one bottled water and five pieces of pan de sal to each evacuee was made by a certain Facebook user on a photo of the Vice President distributing aid to the evacuees in Batangas.
The same comment was re-posted by Uson on her Facebook page, while saying, “Hindi nakapagtataka na galit na ang mga tao sa mga istilong bulok na ganito. Hindi din kasi ito ang unang pagkakataong inuna ni Leni ang pagpapa photo ops kaysa sa pagtulong sa mga biktima ng trahedya (It’s not surprising that the people hate this rotten style. This wasn’t the first time that Leni prioritized having photo ops over helping victims of tragedies.)”
The Office of the Vice President said it distributed 1,000 masks and 2,101 food packs, each one containing 1.5 kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, and two packs of noodles.
Robredo asked why government is using the people’s money on someone who “poisons” their mind.
“Bakit hinahayaan natin na iyong nagpapakalat ng fake news, sinusuwelduhan pa ng pamahalaan? Pera natin ito. Hindi naman ito pera ng kung sinong government official. Pero para hayaan mo na pera natin iyong ginagamit para lasunin iyong isip ng ating mga kababayan, tingin ko malaking kasalanan iyon (Why are we allowing government to pay the one who is spreading fake news? It’s our money. It’s the money of just any government official. But to allow our money to be used to poison the minds of our people, I think that’s a huge sin),” she said.
The Vice President earlier criticized social media users who shared the fake news posts, saying it’s a shame that “tragedy is being used for lying.”
Uson became notorious for false information she has posted on her Facebook blog which supposedly has 5.6 million followers.
The Palace, believing she has that many followers, first appointed her as communications assistant secretary.
Uson’s boss then, Presidential Communications chief Martin Andanar, cautioned the public against belittling her after she said she planned to join an information drive on a shift to a federal form of government, saying she is “responsible to her more than 5 million followers.”
But her millions of followers failed to give her a seat at the House of Representatives. In last year’s May elections, Uson’s party-list group, AA Kasosyo, was in 73rd place among 134 party-list groups.
One of her first major blunders was when she posted on her blog a picture of men in uniform, passing them off as Filipinos. The men were actually Honduran policemen.
She also said Mayon Volcano is in Naga City. Naga City is in Camarines Sur, a province in the Bicol region like Albay where the volcano is.