WATCH | Adversaries Trillanes, Uson engage in flirtatious banter during Senate hearing

October 4, 2017 - 4:17 PM
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in a Reuters file photo and, right, Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson testifying at the Senate on Wednesday. (Mocha photo by Geremy Pintolo/Philippine Star)

MANILA< Philippines -- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Assistant Secretary for Social Media Mocha Uson shared a flirtatious moment on Wednesday at the hearing into fake news by the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media. "Actually, wala na sana akong planong um-attend dito, kaso na-miss daw ako ni Miss Mocha," Trillanes said, with a smile. Uson replied, "Ang gwapo n'yo pala, Senator, sa personal." This made Trillanes and the rest of the room laugh. "Hindi po fake news 'yun, sir," Uson added. This led Senator Grace Poe, the chairperson of the Senate committee, to comment that Trillanes was on his way to being disarmed by Uson. "Konti na lang at baka iatras ko na ang kaso ko. Konti na lang bola," Trillanes said, referring to a criminal complaint he had filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Uson, whom he had accused of three counts of "the cybercrime offense of libel" and of using falsified documents. He had also asked the Ombudsman to find the official of the Presidential Communications Operations Office administratively liable for grave misconduct and for violating the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because of her continued performances with her group, the Mocha Girls, despite her government position. Despite the light moment between Trillanes and Uson, he berated her for not ensuring that her posts were factual before publishing them online. "Personal opinion ko lang po 'yan," Uson replied. She added that she didn't realize that once she became a government official, she no longer had the right to express herself. But Trillanes stressed that as part of the PCOO, her job was to "communicate the official line of the government." This meant that there should be limitations to what she made public. Asked for comment, former newsman and PCOO Undersecretary Joel Egco said he defended her freedom of speech and expression under the 1987 Constitution. Blogging was a way of distributing information, he said. It just so happened that her way of practicing it was not official. Trillanes then grilled Uson about a Tweet she posted in August, where she asked when Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Bam Aquino, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Trillanes would visit the wake of a law enforcer, only to find out that the person had been killed a year ago. The lawmaker said she wouldn't get into such situations if she had a friend or a staff member to turn to to fact-check her before she published her posts. He added that she had many followers who believed in what she said, and if she got burned too often, no one would believe her anymore. Uson nodded as Trillanes spoke. Poe added that information from Uson was deemed by her followers as official. "You have a strong influence sa public, gamitin mo yan in a positive way. Be a good influence to those following you. You can promote... defend and explain n'yo yung mga policies. That way, magiging iba 'yung ano, hindi, hateful na 'yung cyberspace natin," Trillanes advised. Uson replied, "I'm going to consider all his suggestions para sa approach ko sa pagba-blog. At kung naiwan ko nga po 'yung propesyon ko sa entertainment, 'yung pagsasayaw ko po, para manilbihan sa bayan, I will consider your suggestions po sa approach pagba-blog kung makakabuti po para sa bayan." WATCH NEWS5’S VIDEO: