Duterte defends Mocha Uson for not apologizing over FB post
President Rodrigo Duterte has defended Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson for her defiance not to apologize for coming out with a post on her social media page of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr who was kissed on the lips by his supporter.
Duterte told the media in Cebu Thursday night Uson was invoking her freedom of expression for not apologizing to actress and television host Kris Aquino who was hurt by the PCOO official's post on her Facebook page.
In defending Duterte over his controversial kiss on the lips of a married Filipina during his meeting with the Filipino community in South Korea, Uson posted a video on her FB account, showing the late senator being kissed on the lips by a woman-supporter before stepping out of the plane that brought him back to Manila where he was assassinated at the airport in 1983. Aquino is Kris' father.
"As I respect the opposition, I must also respect the people in my camp. She (Uson) has invoked the right of free expression --- freedom to express. Once you invoke of such, I can't do anything," Duterte said.
Stressing how he values the freedom of expression, Duterte said, "You can criticize me even the garbage collector. But as long as you are a Filipino citizen, I will respect your right to freedom of expression."
But if the person criticizing him is a foreigner, he said, "I will deport you. Who are you? Just because you are a nun you think that you will find a special reason to be behaving the way you are?"
Duterte was apparently referring to Australian missionary Patricia Fox, who has been ordered by the Bureau of Immigration to leave the country after her missionary visa was revoked for speaking in a rally in Davao City.
Fox's case is pending at the Department of Justice.
Prior to Uson's statement that she would not apologize to Kris, Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said he and Duterte apologized for Uson's FB post. He said that Uson would also apologize.
Duterte confirmed that he said sorry to Kris for the incident.
"Yes. That's true. I said to Bong, tell her we are sorry for the incident because she works for me in Malaca?ang," he said.
But he reiterated he could not force Uson to follow them.
"But there is a verbal tussle there. Then she (Uson) has invoked freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Who am I now to say no?...she has invoked a sacred right. That’s guaranteed under the Constitution," Duterte explained. Celerina Monte/DMS