Former Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson has been appointed as deputy executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
The announcement of her appointment immediately drew mixed reactions from the Commission on Elections and Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Uson was exempted from the one-year election ban, saying “the party-list nominees aren’t candidates per se. So the rule doesn’t apply to them.”
Under the rule, party-list representatives are indirectly elected via a party-list election wherein the voter votes for the party and not for the party’s nominee.
The Constitution bans the appointment of any candidate who has lost in an election to any office in the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or subsidiaries, within one year after such election.
But Gaite denounced the appointment, saying a losing candidate was barred from assuming position in the government within a year after the elections as provided in the 1987 Constitution and in the Local Government Code.
Gaite cited Section 6, Article IX B of the 1987 Constitution that provides, “no candidate who has lost in any election, shall within one year after election, be appointed to any office in the government or any government-owned or controlled corporation or in any of its subsidiaries.”
Similarly, Gaite said Uson’s appointment was illegal per Section 94 of the Local Government Code on the Appointment of Elective and Appointive Local Officials Who Lost in an Election, that no elective or appointive local official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure.
Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no elective or appointive local official shall hold any other office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries” Gaite said.
“This Constitutional prohibition is applicable to party-list nominees and Mocha Uson being the first nominee of AA KASOSYO Partylist, and who participated in the 2019 Party-list elections, is covered by the 1-year ban. So her appointment as the Deputy Administrator of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is illegal and should not be enforced,” said Gaite.
The controversial blogger was appointed last Sept. 23, as shown in the list released by Malacañang on Monday.
Uson, who resigned from PCOO last year after a series of controversies, ran and lost as a party-list representative in the recent May elections.
She was the first nominee of AA-Kasosyo party-list which she said aimed to help Filipinos particularly overseas workers.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said party-list nominees were not covered by Comelec rule stating that no candidate should be appointed to any government position a year after losing any elections.
Prior to Uson’s work in the PCOO, she also served as a member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in January 2017.