Palace discouraging Mocha Uson from performing in casinos

Ruth Abbey Gita

COMMUNICATIONS Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson has already been advised to stop performing in casino hotels as it violates an executive memorandum prohibiting public officials and employees from visiting casinos, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar had made it clear to Uson that she could perform in other events but not in casinos.

"Law is clear and Secretary Andanar has discussed with Asec. Uson why we must discourage her from performing in casinos though we understand that she may have to fulfill a certain contract," Abella told a press conference.

"However, she is certainly free to continue to perform in other venues not restricted for government officials and personnel," he added.

Uson drew flak after she reportedly performed at Bar 360 located on the ground floor of Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.

Uson, the leader of all-female group Mocha Girls, was given a government post after she supported the 2016 presidential bid of the then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

On Thursday, Andanar said he was already looking into reports about Uson's performance in a casino hotel.

Asked whether the Assistant Secretary would face a preventive suspension amid pending investigation, Andanar said his office was "forwarding the matter to the OES (Office of the Executive Secretary)."

On September 20, 2016, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed Memorandum Circular 6 "enjoining all government officials and employees to strictly observe and comply with the prohibition against going to gambling casinos."

"All government officials and employees shall strictly observe and comply with all pertinent laws, issuances and policies prohibiting government personnel to enter, stay, or play in gambling casinos," the memorandum read.

Following the controversy hounding Uson, Abella said any public officials must avoid going to casino hotels.

"Rightly or wrongly, casinos tend to convey extravagance and questionable ethical practices in the public mind," Abella said.

"Hence, those in government must avoid being seen in such places," he added. (SunStar Philippines)