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Michele Gumabao explains decision to run alongside Mocha Uson as party-list nominee

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Oct 18, 2021 7:51 pm

On Oct. 8, volleyball star and former beauty queen Michele Gumabao stunned fans when she filed her certificate of nomination and acceptance for Mocha Uson’s Mothers for Change party-list.

Gumabao is the second nominee of the party-list, headed by Uson, who is its first nominee.

Some fans and netizens slammed the 29-year-old’s move to team up with Uson, a polarizing personality who has drummed up and propagated fake information online, and has taken several government positions under the Duterte administration, including her current post as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator.

Netizens also unearthed a 2018 Facebook post by Gumabao, during her reign as Binibining Pilipinas Globe, where she urged everyone to advocate against fake news, among other things.

“With the power of media, we should be responsible and diligent in our words and in expressing our opinion. It’s not just the government and media that have to be mindful of this. We should all commit ourselves to speaking, posting and sharing only the truth,” she said in her 2018 post.

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In an interview with CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk, Gumabao explained why she decided to run alongside Uson.

“I’ve shared the sentiment of the general public when I first mer her (Uson). But we only believe what we see on media and social media. More than fake news, and back with what I said in 2018, being responsible with what you report, you have to make it a point to see what's the truth by going out there and meeting the person and confirming what you're reading online. That's what I did. I asked her questions straight up. That’s when we get past the scrutiny of the public,” Gumabao said.

She added, “It’s normal when you don’t know the person and that’s why I also had it in me to respect all these people who say negative things on social media because at the end of the day, they only know what they see on social media.”

Gumabao said she has been working with Uson over the past year with Women for Change, where her advocacy for youth blends with the goal of the party-list to represent all mothers in society—from those who are abandoned and abused, to overseas Filipino workers and teenage mothers.

Some netizens criticized both Gumabao and Uson for running for a party-list to represent mothers, when neither of them is. She said though they are not mothers themselves, their advocacy is a “tribute to all mothers” and she is using her platform to amplify their message.

Gumabao also pointed out that she and Uson are both from single mothers, who were there to take care of them in the absence of their fathers. Gumabao’s father, former actor Dennis Roldan, is serving a life sentence in the National Bilibid Prison for a kidnapping case. While Uson’s father, Oscar, was an RTC judge who was assassinated in 2002.

With her first time to enter politics, Gumabao is gunning for a seat in congress. She said her initial plan was to run for a local position, like her father who was a councilor in Quezon City. But being a party-list second nominee was something she decided on to support the group’s advocacy.

“I’m coming into this with a heart to learn and with such a fresh unique perspective,” she said. “If we want to make change in the country, we have to do it better.”

Gumabao is an ambassador for the Philippine National Police’s Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo program and the newly formed women’s group Magdalena. She was also recently tapped by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as the task force’s ambassador.