A night with Mocha Uson
Irish Christianne Dizon (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2016 - 12:00am

The 2016 national elections saw the rise of unlikely political forces: Rodrigo Duterte, mayor-turned-President; Leni Robredo, Vice President with a come-from-

behind victory; and of course,
Mocha Uson, singer,
dancer, sexy star, and political pundit.

Mocha calls herself a “DDS: Die-hard Duterte Supporter,” and with her blog, mocha.com.ph, attracting over 20,000,000 hits as of press time, she is one of the most widely-read commentators today. To millions, hers is the most
enlightening website out there, but
others see her as a national troll, a
laughingstock, a “Dutertard."

This was taken at Cowboy Grill in Manila. Mocha Uson had a lot of fans in this place, and she gamely posed with them for photos — signature Duterte fist, mandatory. When Mocha stood onstage, for her finale number, a dance to the song Du30, she asked the crowd if any of them support Duterte. The crowd roared. “Abangan niyo po sa Saturday nasa Philippine STAR ako,” she told them.

How did this woman, who burst into the entertainment industry 10 years ago with the girl group Mocha Girls — this woman who once performed a cringe-worthy breast exam on camera for the webcast of radio show Boys Night Out — find herself at the forefront of the #Du30 revolution? Why do so many people listen to her views? Mocha Uson is a pop culture enigma, and we just had to meet her.

On The Road

We wanted to see how Mocha lives, so this assignment began with an email to Mocha’s manager, Byron Cristobal, who gave us permission to trail her for a night. Mocha and I met in Mandaluyong on Wednesday, on her way to the gym from a beauty clinic. It was 7 p.m., and her day was just beginning.

“Have you eaten?” she asked us as we introduced ourselves. In person, Mocha Uson, it turns out, is warm and
inquisitive, and within an hour of
meeting her, I was on WhatsApp, telling my teammates, “Guys, sobrang nice niya.”

On our way out of the gym, a beggar kid shyly says hi to her. “Uy! Binigyan ka na,” she asks the kid. A shake of the head. Mocha digs into her bag and finds a box of chocolate. She’s been friends with this kid for six months now, the daughter of
garbage collectors. Mocha purposely doesn’t give her money. “Baka ipang-rugby lang o kunin ng magulang. At least 'pag pagkain, busog siya.”

Mocha boards her High Ace van and heads to a series of gigs — first, an hour-long performance for Japanese men at a KTV-slash-girly bar called Sachi; then, at Cowboy Grill in Manila for a rowdier, more game Pinoy crowd. I stay with
Mocha until two in the morning, and througout the night, in

This was taken at Cowboy Grill in Manila. Mocha Uson had a lot of fans in this place, and she gamely posed with them for photos — signature Duterte fist, mandatory. When Mocha stood onstage, for her finale number, a dance to the song Du30, she asked the crowd if any of them support Duterte. The crowd roared. “Abangan niyo po sa Saturday nasa Philippine STAR ako,” she told them.

between bars, ask her about her life and politics. At one point, I confess I don’t agree with her views. “That’s okay,” she said. “That’s what democracy is for.” I came in ready to hate, and went home reminded that people are not black and white. Here are excerpts from our
conversation.

 

When did your political awakening happen? Dati pa ba yan?

Exposed na rin ako sa politics kasi 'yung father ko, nasa government siya. He was assassinated. Kasi merong isang notorious gang sa Pangasinan, walang may gustong judge na hawakan 'yung kaso na 'yun.
Napunta sa kanya.
Ang tatay ko, matapang. Makabayan siya. 'Yun 'yung naipasa niya sa akin. Para sa kanya, kahit anong mangyari, basta importante gawin niya yung tama. So tinanggap niya yung kaso. Napakulong niya 'yung leader nung syndicate na 'yun. And because of that…

He was killed.

Oo, in an ambush shooting. Pauwi siya ng bahay, nasa sasakyan niya, apat na motor, dalawang riding in tandem, inabangan siya sa bridge, tapos 'yun: six gun shots, para siguradong mamatay siya. Magkabilang side. 'Yun pala, 'yung sindikato na 'yun, bina back up-pan ng mga pulitiko. Long story short ang nagpapatay sa father ko, pulitiko. Pero siyempre, hindi pinaguusapan yun sa province. Kasi malalakas yung mga ano dun. Wala pa ring justice hanggang ngayon. But hindi ko na pinaglalaban 'yung hustisya kasi wala na yung father ko. Ang pinaglalaban ko lang is, sana naman magkaroon ng takot yung mga mamamatay tao na gumawa ng mga bagay na ganito. Kasi ang dali nilang makalusot, makawala, dahil nga protekatdo sila eh. Nung in-announce ni Duterte na tatakbo siya, bulong-bulungan pa lang, sabi ko, “Wow! May
pag-asa.” Kasi 'yung ibang
candidates, pare-pareho lang.

I watched the Mocha girls perform for an hour at the KTV bar-slash-girly bar Sachi. There were lots of Japanese men in the audience, their gown-decked escorts on their sides. Mocha and her girls danced and sung and encouraged audience participation, but it ended there: no touching, certainly no kissing, and no monkey business of any sort. (Their manager Byron Cristobal tells me his girls entertain onstage—period. And anyone who accepts “rakets” behind closed doors is immediately booted out.)

Bakit? What is it about him?

Personally nakita ko 'yung father ko sa kanya. Number one, he loves his country. Number two, matapang siya, hindi siya takot na ipaglaban 'yung tama. And number three, he’s willing to die for his country. At 'yun 'yung nangyari sa tatay ko. Kaya I
supported this man.

Are you and your mom on the same page politics wise?

Nung una sabi niya, “Mocha stop it. Don’t be a sacrificial lamb.” Sabi ko, “Mother! Kung noon nga wala akong hiya na
maghubad ngayon pang tama yung ginagawa ko, pipigilan niyo ako?!”
(laughs) Wala akong itinatago. Ayoko kasing makilala lang bilang sexy entertainer. Gusto kong magkaroon ng kabuluhan 'yung buhay ko na parang tatay ko, namatay siya for his country. For fighting for what is right.

Ano yung blog entry mo that received the most hate?

'Yung pinapababa ko raw si Leni Robredo. Unang una sinabi ko, I respect her. Number two, hindi ko kinukwestiyon yung eleksyon. I addressed her as Vice President. Tinatanggap na nga eh. Nagpapaalala lang. Nagkaroon ng violent reaction. Sabi ng iba, “sino ka para sabihan si Leni ng ganito?” “You stupid hoe!”  “Imbecile!” “Pokpok!” “Wala kang alam!” “Political ANALyst!” "Ma-gang rape ka sana!"

'Yung ibang page, 'yung ibang mga tao, sinasabi, “Si Leni ay nandaya,” “si Leni ay lugaw queen,” “si Leni ay maldita.” Samantalang ako I addressed her as Vice President, at nag-remind lang na you have to support Duterte or else magagalit ang tao. Tapos ako 'yung nakatanggap ng ganung bashing. Why?

Because you’re you?

Because I am me. Because Mocha Uson is a sexy entertainer. Ayun, dahil lang sexy entertainer ako. Parang hindi nila matanggap na galing sa isang taong katulad ko yung opinion na yun. “Hoy! Sumayaw ka na lang! Di ba dapat bobo ka? Dapat wala kang alam? Bat ka nag ko-comment? Political analyst ka ba?” Hindi mo naman kailangan maging political analyst para makialam sa bansa mo eh, kasi it’s a public affair.

Dapat nga ine-encourage lahat ng Pilipino na maging political analyst. Makialam ka. Ipaglaban mo kung ano yung sa tingin mong tama. Hindi yung mananahimik ka lang, hahayaan mo na bubusalan yung bibig mo ng mga mapang aping elitista who think they are superior to you. 'Di ba?

Has Digong ever said or done anything that you do not agree with?

'Yung tungkol sa rape joke. I’m not saying na 'yun 'yung worst na ginawa ni Duterte, ibig sabihin 'yun 'yung naging worst issue niya. Ako, personally, sabi ko, oh no. Teka muna, ano ba to. And because of that joke, nag-research ako. Tapos lumabas nga 'yung totoong nangyari, na bakit ba nasabi ni Duterte 'yun.

But do you agree that rape jokes should never be made?

Yes, never. But number one it was not a rape joke. It was a comment. Siyempre, si Duterte 'yung kanyang delivery, hindi naman perfect. Pero he didn’t mean it as a joke.

Were you ever paid by his campaign team?

No. Walang talent fee. Hindi kami humingi ng talent fee. Hindi kami bayaran. Kaya
malakas din ang loob ko talaga na magsalita.

Never raw nagpa-courtesy call si Mayor sa Mocha Girls? Can you tell me about that?

Sa totoo lang, 'di ba, una, kami nga 'yung parang dapat na bastusin na grupo? (Laughs.) 'Di ba sinasabi nila kasi na "Hay naku. Sanay nang mabastos 'yang mga 'yan." Totoo. In fact, 'yung aking isang Mocha girl, sumakay sa elevator, may mga congressmen, ang sabi sa kanya, "anong floor mo, miss?" Ginanun siya. Nasaktan ako for her. Tapos nasa airplane kami, may nakasabay na naman kaming congressman. Binulungan yung manager namin, nagbigay ng calling card. Expected na. Pero si Duterte, zero. Walang ganun. Ilang beses na kaming nagpunta ng Davao. In fact, pareho pa kami ng hotel. Nag ko-coffee lang siya dun sa restaurant. Wala. Wala talaga. Kahit na sa mga rally. Hanggang photo op nga lang kami eh, picture. Kaya namin siya pinagtatanggol kasi hindi siya bastos. Malaki ang respeto niya. At alam namin yung iba 'pag kaharap ng media, alam mo 'yan, 'di ba? Pero dun sa mga party, may kanya-kanyang partner, may kanya-kanyang...alam mo na yun. Eh si Duterte kung ano yung nakikita mo, 'yun na 'yun. What you see is what you get.

So what’s your stand on men cheating?

Siyempre mali 'yun. Mali. Cheating is a no.

What is your message to people who hate-read your blog?

Unang una I can’t stop you from hating me. That’s your freedom. Pangalawa, kung ano yung nababasa niyo sa blog ko, sinusulat ko lang kung ano 'yung pinaparating sa akin. 'Yun lang. (laughs)

What’s next for you?

We don’t know what the future holds. You don’t even know kung anong mangyayari sa 'yo bukas. So I really don’t worry about the future. Kasi the more I worry, the more na nase-stress ako, the more wala akong nagagawa. Whatever comes my way, 'yun. For now, I focus on now, I am training the girls, helping them reach their dreams: magkaroon ng sariling sasakyan, 'yung mga simpleng bagay na ganun. Maging independent from their parents. Be able to sustain themselves, give them a career, give them a job, 'yun muna. 'Yun muna ngayon.

* * *

Tweet the author @IrishDDizon. Photos by Cenon Norial III

 

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