On October 9, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that he did not fire Esther Margaux “Mocha” Justiniano Uson. He said it was her decision to resign as assistant secretary for social media of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
“I never fired Mocha,” Duterte said in Malacañang. “Siya ‘yung nag-resign (She resigned).”
Uson told Duterte that she did not want to disturb him but she needed to clarify the issue about her resignation as a government official. In response, he said, “I will be angry if you will not disturb me.”
Like Duterte, executive secretary Salvador Medialdea and special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go denied that Uson was fired. During a budget hearing at the Senate on October 3, 2018, she said she was resigning to facilitate the approval of the proposed 2019 budget of the PCOO.
Hours after Uson announced her resignation, the House of Representatives approved the PCOO’s proposed national budget for 2019, which is 3.757 trillion pesos.
The PCOO’s budget hearing at the House of Representatives was deferred twice due to Uson’s absence. She served as assistant secretary for social media of the PCOO for more than one year.
On October 8, 2018, Uson confirmed that she would seek an elective post in the 2019 midterm polls. In response, Duterte told her, “I will support you.”
“Paano na lang yung ordinaryong tao na nilalapastangan?” (What will happen to the ordinary people suffering from injustice?) Uson asked. “Kaya dahil po diyan sa paninirang nangyari sa atin… Naniniwala ako na paninira ‘yan sa pulitika e dahil akala nila ako ay tatakbo.” (So, because of the character assassination they are doing against me… I believe they are trying to destroy me for political reasons because they assume I am running for office.)
“Kaya siguro challenge na sa akin yan na bibigyan ko ng boses ang ordinaryong Pilipino,” (So maybe it is a challenge for me to give a voice to the ordinary Filipino) Uson added. “Kaya tatakbo na ako. Oo, tatakbo na ako.” (This is why I am running. Yes, I am running.)
Here is a statement from Uson: