MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Resigned communications assistant secretary Mocha Uson filed her certificate of nomination and certificate of acceptance of nomination (CONA) to run for AA-Kasosyo party-list representative on Monday, October 15.
This means she is a nominee of the party to take a seat in the House of Representatives if they win enough votes in 2019.
The controversial entertainer-turned-government-official said she decided to run for a seat in the lower house instead of for senator in order to counter the influence of "terrorist sympathizers" in that chamber.
"Sa Kongreso po kaya ko po ito pinasok dahil mayroon po diyang mga tinatawag ni Mayor Inday Sara na terrorist sympathizers na nagtatago sa anyo ng party-list. Kilala nila kung sino mga 'yan, 'yang mga komunista diyan," she said.
(I want to get into Congress because there are those referred to by Mayor Inday Sara as terrorist sympathizers, hiding under party-lists. You know who they are, the communists there.)
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio had previouslly called the Makabayan bloc "terrorists" and "liars" for claiming her city did not give teachers regular local allowance.
It had been previously thought she would run for senator as former PDP-Laban secretary general and former house speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had pushed for her inclusion in the party's senatorial slate.
Uson described the Kasosyo party-list as a group advocating for more entrepreneurship among Filipinos.
"Yung Kasosyo party-list po ay producer and consumer exchange partylist po 'yan. Ang aming adhikain po dito ay entrepreneurship, yung tutulungan po natin ang ating mga kababayan magkaroon sila ng kanilang negosyo, mapadali," she said.
(The Kasosyo party-list is a producer and consumer exchange party-list. Our advocacy is entrepreneurship, where we will help our countrymen put up their own businesses.)
She was supposedly named "honorary member" of the group in December 2017. She said she has known its members since during the 2016 campaign period.
"December last year nila akong ginawang honorary member at mula noon ay ako na rin po ay naging aktibo po sa kanilang adbokasiya (They made me an honorary member in December last year and since then I've been active in their advocacy.)," she said.
AA-Kasosyo, however, is linked to the billions-pesos worth pork barrel scam. In 2011, then AA-Kasosyo party-list representative Nasser Pangandaman allocated its P12 million pork barrel to Kaupdanan Mangunguma Foundation Inc (KMFI) – an NGO identified with Janet Lim Napoles.
Uson responded quickly when a reporter brought up the "tainted" past of the party.
Grabbing the microphone from the party member who had accompanied her, she said, "Lahat naman tainted, yung iba nga diyan komunista diba, mga terrorist sympathizers. Kaya po ako nandito para bulabugin ang Kongreso."
(Everyone is tainted, some are even communists, terrorist sympathizers. That's why I'm here, to shake up Congress.)
Violating code of ethics
Uson has been accused of peddling false information during her stint as public official and of violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Even her colleagues at the Presidential Communications Operations Office had called on her to resign.
Her last controversy involved a video posted on her Facebook page in which she encouraged pro-Duterte blogger Drew Olivar to make fun of sign language.
The video earned her a complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman for violating the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
Even allies of President Rodrigo Duterte thumbed down her video with Olivar of a lewd federalism jingle and dance. Former senate president and federalism advocate Aquilino Pimentel Jr said Uson should stick to entertainment.
After resigning, Uson said she would devote her time to attacking critics of the Duterte administration.
"Suntukan tayo, bakbakan tayo. Huwag 'nyo na ako pigilan (Let’s have a fist fight, let’s fight it out. Don't restrain me)," she has said. – With a report from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.