Mocha Uson's party linked to pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines – Controversial former assistant secretary Mocha Uson is running for party-list representative under the AA-Kasosyo party. But this party, back in 2011, channelled its pork barrel funds to a bogus NGO of pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles.

A look through Rappler investigative articles shows that there are Department of Budget and Management data proving this link. (READ: How the Malampaya fund was plundered)

The DBM website showed that P12 million of former AA-Kasosyo party-list representative Nasser Pangandaman's pork barrel was released to the Department of Agriculture and Kaupdanan Mangunguma Foundation Inc (KMFI), an NGO identified with Napoles.

The transfer was done on August 8, 2011, only a month after Pangandaman assumed office as AA-Kasosyo party-list representative in July.

Of the P12 million, whistleblower Benhur Luy said P5 million was supposedly given to the local government units of Balungao in Pangasinan and P7 million to Sual, also in Pangasinan. But the money did not reach the LGUs.

Even Pangandaman's taking the AA-Kasosyo party seat in the House was fraught with controversy. Before being party-list representative, he was agrarian reform secretary.

AA-Kasosyo's original representative was Pangandaman's brother Solaiman. He vacated his post in favor of his brother at a time when the agrarian reform secretary was accused of misusing P200 million in his department's funds. He had also been accused of being the bagman of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Some alleged that Solaiman only vacated his post so that his beleaguered brother would enjoy parliamentary immunity from corruption charges.

In a press conference at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday, October 15, Uson had railed against individuals abusing the party-list system.

"Para sa akin, dapat yung mga nandiyan, party-list, hindi ginagamit ang pondo ng gobyerno para ipabagsak ang gobyerno (For me, the people there, party-lists, should not use government funds to bring down government)," she said.

'Lahat naman tainted'

When this history of her party was brought up during the brief interview in the Comelec, Uson was quick to react.

She even grabbed the microphone from her partymate, lawyer Teodoro Pastrana.

"Lahat naman tainted, yung iba nga diyan komunista 'di ba, mga terrorist sympathizers. Kaya po ako nandito para bulabugin ang Kongreso," she said.

(Everyone is tained, the others are even communists, terrorist sympathizers. I'm here to shake up Congress.)

She said whatever sordid history her party has must be brought out.

"Eh di ilabas…Ilabas na lang para matapos ang usapan (Then just bring it out so that we bring an end to the talk)," she said.

Pastrana, meanwhile, denied the party was ever linked to the pork barrel scam.

Uson has also repeatedly ranted online about opposition lawmakers and officials whom she has accused of corruption or abuse of power. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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