VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Mocha Uson video blunders on federalism

An online show of Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson made a wrong claim about federalism.

The video of the “Good News Game Show” posted Aug. 2 by Uson on her Facebook page incorrectly stated that Singapore and France have federal governments.

The same video over the weekend drew flak for featuring a lewd dance and jingle about federalism.

Also over the weekend, Uson apologized after she was called out for misstating in her newspaper column the Philippines is the lone country with a unitary form of government in Southeast Asia. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Mocha Uson wrong about federalism in Southeast Asia)


The 58-minute Aug. 2 video, a spliced version of which trended over the weekend and caused social media uproar, opens with her co-host, Drew Olivar, chanting “Pepe-dede-ralismo,” punning “federalism” and the Filipino words for female genitals and breasts.

Ten minutes in, Uson asked to Olivar to read aloud a supposed explainer on federalism. Olivar said:

Ilan sa mga kilalang bansa na (Some known countries) under ng federalism ay ang (are the) U.S., France at Singapore.”

Source: Good News Game Show, Mocha Uson Blog, Aug. 2, 2018, watch from 10:33 to 10:38


Of the three countries mentioned in the video, only the U.S. has a federal form of government. France and Singapore have unitary governments.

The European Committee of the Regions website describes France “a unitary state organized on a decentralized basis.”

Singapore, a city-state, has no local government. A U.S. Library of Congress country profile calls it “a unitary state with no second-order administrative divisions.”

Federal countries divide sovereignty between national and regional governments. Unitary countries have local governments that exercise only powers granted to them by the central government.

Several senators and members of the consultative committee tasked to draft the federal charter have criticized Uson’s video.

Di ko lubos akalain na bababuyin pala nila ang kawsa ng pederalismo (I never expected they would savage the cause of federalism),” said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III in a statement, referring to Olivar’s lewd dance. “Ilayo na si Mocha sa pederalismo (Put Mocha away from federalism).”

Uson was earlier tapped by the consultative committee to help disseminate information on charter change.

Consultative committee member Ranhilio Aquino, responding to former poll body commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal’s Twitter post that the video is disturbing, said he is “disgusted.”

Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque in an Aug. 6 press briefing said the video did not have Duterte’s blessing.

Responding to the backlash, Uson said Aug. 5 the video was only for fun and does not intend to trivialize federalism.

Ang aming layunin ay hikayatin ang aming manonood na pag-usapan pa lalo ang pederalismo dahil ito ay isa sa mga pangako ng ating pangulo (Our goal is to urge viewers to discuss federalism, as it is one of the president’s promises),” Uson wrote.


ABS-CBN News, ‘Mali ang substance’: Pimentel hits Mocha Uson over federalism video, Aug. 6, 2018.

Commonwealth Local Government Forum, The Local Government System in Singapore

European Committee of the Regions, Division of Powers, Koko to Mocha: Keep off federalism campaign, take a leave, Aug. 6, 2018

Mocha Uson Blog, Aug 5. 2018, How the U.S. Government Is Organized

Oxford Reference, Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Federalism

Oxford Reference, Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Unitary State, Koko urges Mocha to go on leave after ‘federalism’ video, Aug. 6, 2018

Presidential Communications Facebook page, Press Briefing – Malita, Davao Occidental, Aug. 6, 2018

@RanhilioAquino: “I agree and I am disgusted” Aug. 5, 2018

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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