De Lima to Uson: Spread facts instead of propaganda

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) —Margaux "Mocha" Uson found an ally in one of the President's most vocal critics, more than a week after she was appointed assistant secretary in the Palace's lead communications arm.

Detained Senator Leila De Lima on Tuesday congratulated the former celebrity blogger in her appointment before she reminded her that she is now a "civil servant."

"I hope that she will be a purveyor of truth, rather than propaganda; of responsibly gathered and vetted facts and news, rather than so-called "alternative facts" and fake news.," de Lima said in a letter.

Uson, whose Facebook blog has a little more than 5 million followers, was appointed in Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in May 8.

Her appointment was widely criticized by netizens, and even by a beauty queen, saying her blog propagates so-called fake news.

A few days after her appointment, Uson said she aims to bring Filipinos closer to the government.

"Ang ating pong tututukan sa PCOO ay ang mailapit ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino sa pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng social media," Uson wrote in her blog.

[Translation: I will focus on reaching out to ordinary Filipinos through social media in my job in PCOO.]

She also writes "Hotspot," a column in national broadsheet Philippine Star, since November.

READ: Mocha Uson, the public official: a timeline

De Lima said Uson, a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, should not "blindly" follow the President who may ask to "apply (her) talent and gift to sow discord or to persecute those who displease him."

De Lima said Uson should instead be a "servant of the people."

"The product of your instrument - the information you disseminate, the thoughts you convey through your mouth, pen, or your keyboard - will have an impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos. It may spell the difference between nation-building and nation-destruction," the senator wrote.

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She also defended Uson from people who brought up her prior career as a member of sexy girl group "Mocha Girls."

"I would ask people not to slut-shame her, to use her past career, relationships or sexual history to malign her, to subject her to misogynistic attacks, or any other form of ad hominem attacks, for that matter," de Lima said.

Duterte also appointed her as a board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in January.