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POV Philippines by Jon Joaquin

Understanding Mocha

by Jon Joaquin

Here’s a story of someone who made something of herself despite (or maybe because of) what other people thought of her:

“In 1995, Visitacion Parado resumed her education and enrolled in Saint Joseph’s College, Quezon City. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 2000. In 2001, she was accepted into the Master of Arts in psychology with a concentration in counselling psychology program at Ateneo de Manila University. She completed all academic requirements and is now working on her master’s thesis. She is also teaching psychology at Saint Joseph’s College.” (From Wikipedia)

You don’t know who Visitacion Parado is? Maybe you’ll recognize her by her screen name: Tetchie Agbayani. She may be a professor now, but there was a time she made headlines when she posed nude for German Playboy. She was slut-shamed for that and for movie roles that were considered “indecent.” But now she teaches psychology, and as far as I know there have been no complaints from her students’ parents. Apparently they know that being a sexy star and a psychologist are not mutually exclusive.

Think about that the next time you lash out at Mocha Uson and her recent appointment as Assistant Secretary at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). In the first place, what wrong with having a sexy ASec, one with a storied past? All of us have our little secrets; at least Mocha’s past is open for all of us to see.

Which brings me to the second point: Mocha’s past — including her stint as a sexy performer, her academic background, and the tragedy that befell her family that pushed her to support President Duterte — is literally just a Google search away.

“Uson was born on May 17, 1982, in Dagupan, Pangasinan. Her father, Oscar Uson, was a regional trial court judge who was assassinated in September 2002 in Asingan, Pangasinan. Her mother, Estrellita Uson, was a pediatrician in Dagupan. In 2010, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer but is now cancer-free after undergoing treatment.

“She attended the Mother Goose Special School System for her elementary and high school education and earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Santo Tomas. She studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery but dropped out during her second year.” (From Wikipedia)

In a Facebook post on February 5, 2016, Mocha says it was her father’s death that prompted her to quit medical school.

“Before I became a full time entertainer, I went to med school here in Manila. I was a second year medical student when my father was murdered. He was an RTC Judge in Pangasinan, my hometown. He was killed in the line of duty in an ambush shooting. Several years later, still no justice for my father. This is what I ask myself – if my own father who is a Government Official, a JUDGE, has not been given justice, how much for ordinary citizens? Can you just imagine what’s happening in our society? If a JUDGE who DISPENSES JUSTICE could not be given protection and justice by our government, how much more for ordinary folks? The main suspect in the murder of my father was a powerful POLITICIAN. Since my father’s death at least 200 lawyers and judges were killed in the last 10 years in the country.”

In other interviews, Mocha has said she has given up on getting justice for her father. But she doesn’t want the same thing to happen to anyone else, and for that reason she campaigned for Duterte and has continued to support him until now.

That’s quite a backstory, one that many people are still unaware of until now. Mocha is like the proverbial sad clown who performs to make people happy but is really heartbroken deep inside. I’ve talked to her on many occasions and she’s no bimbo. She has always struck me as a very intelligent person, and this probably has a lot to do with her past. May pinaghuhugutan.

As for her alleged penchant for sharing fake news on her extremely popular Facebook page, she has consistently said she is “not a journalist.” That is her way of telling everyone that they should also do some fact checking, and in fact she frames many posts as questions. I think more than anyone else, she respects her readers’ intellect and trusts that they will make their own judgment on what she posts.

Besides, fake news is also present in the established media, but I’ll write more about that in a future article. For now, let me just quote another popular blogger, Thinking Pinoy on his view of Mocha:

“Mocha’s popularity comes from her ability to say what the masses think. I see Mocha not as a primary source of news, but as a barometer of public sentiment. Yes, she is not a journalist, but she very accurately represents the frustration, the desperation, and the anger of the masses. And that’s why I read her posts all the time.

“Because I want to know how the masses feel.”

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the original author, and do not necessarily represent those of the Pilipino Express publishers.

Jon Joaquin is the Chief Editor of www.mindanation.com. E-mail Jon at jonjoaquin@gmail.com.

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