MANILA, Philippines – “There’s nothing wrong with the woman, with the girl. She’s bright, she’s articulate.”
Thus said President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday afternoon before departing for Cambodia as he defended his decision to appoint his staunch supporter singer-dancer-blogger Margaux “Mocha” Justiniano Uson as Presidential Communication Operations Office assistant secretary for social media.
Asked during a press briefing whose idea was Uson’s appointment, Duterte said, “Mine,” adding that he saw nothing wrong if his new appointee was a dancer because “she was not dancing naked” and “she was with me during the campaign.”
“’Yang pagsasayaw n’ya, hanapbuhay ‘yan eh. That’s hanapbuhay [Her dancing is a job]. There’s no law that says that if you expose half of your body, with a shorts and a bra, you’re disqualified from being the president of the Philippines. There’s really no law,” Duterte said.
The President said he owed Unson and others who had helped him during his presidential campaign a debt of gratitude and this was the time to repay them.
“Utang na loob ko ‘yan sa kanila because they offered their services free at the time na wala akong pera because they believed in me [That’s my debt of gratitude to them because they offered their services free at the time when I had no money because they believed in me]. Now it’s my time to believe in them…” he said.
Duterte added that he was not just repaying Uson in exchange for the help that she had extended to him but that she was qualified to become a government executive.
“And you can listen to her, you can debate with her. Tingnan mo ‘yong [Check her] Facebook and she can have a very structured mind. So what’s the problem? Every Filipino should deserve a chance wherever or whatever. Walang problema ‘yon sa akin [That’s not a problem with me],” the President said.