By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is not inclined to reprimand Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson for refusing to apologize over a public feud with actress Kris Aquino.
The President said Uson has invoked the right to freedom of expression, adding he respects such “sacred right” enshrined in the Constitution.
“No, as I respect the opposition, I must also respect the people in my camp. She has invoked the right of free expression, freedom to express,” Duterte said during a press conference in Cebu when asked if Uson disobeyed his order to apologize to Aquino.
“Once mag-invoke ka ng ganun, wala na akong magawa [Once you invoke that, I can’t do anything],” said Duterte, who attended the inauguration of Mactain Cebu International Airport.
Kris earlier slammed Uson for using the memory of her father late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. to defend Duterte from criticisms for kissing a lady on the lips in South Korea.
Uson has posted on Facebook an old video of Ninoy getting a kiss from woman passengers to compare Duterte’s behavior. The video was taken moments before Ninoy was shot dead at the Manila airport in 1983.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go has already extended the President’s apology for Uson’s action, saying she was expected to make the same gesture.
Mocha, however, did not issue an apology and instead insisted that issue was not about Kris but the malice given to a kiss.
Speaking to reporters in Cebu, the President confirmed that he apologized because Uson “works for me in Malacañang.”
“There is a verbal tussle there tapos she has invoked freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Who am I now to say na huwag. I do not control my — she has invoked a sacred right that’s guaranteed under the Constitution,” he added.