Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson must attend Congress’ plenary deliberations on the 2019 proposed budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Sunday.
“Mocha really needs to be present in the Congress. She must be there, as Congressman Eric Olivarez interpellates, she must explain and answer the questions of the Makabayan bloc,” Andanar told DZBB Sunday morning.
The communications chief said his agency is ready to defend their budget in Congress, saying that they only work not because of politics, but for the improvement of channel distributions in the government.
“We have a scheduled hearing on October 2 or 3 and we are ready. We are only awaiting the return of Mocha,” Andanar said.
Andanar dismissed the claim that Uson has been hiding from the lawmakers, adding that Uson will attend the two hearings if the Congress requires her presence.
According to him, Uson, together with Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, has been attending the United Nations general assembly in New York.
“She has been requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs to attend and help secretary Cayetano disseminate information to our fellow citizens there,” said Andanar, stressing DFA shoulders Uson’s expenses.
Last Tuesday, Reps Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna and France Castro of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list suspended the consideration of PCOO’s budget.
“Asec Uson had been absent during committee deliberations last Sept. 6. Now, she is absent again. This should have been the right opportunity for us to ask questions from her. With that Mr. Speaker, I move to defer the budget of PCOO proper,” Castro said.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s communications agency proposes a P1.474-billion budget for 2019. The PCOO budget proposal was higher by P39.434 million than this year’s.