Prior to her resignation, former PCOO assistant secretary Mocha Uson has been involved in several controversies which have prompted groups and a lawmaker to file complaints against her.
She was appointed to the government position by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 2017 to handle PCOO’s social media accounts through a team.
However, her conduct and actions have resulted in her own colleagues asking for her removal. Two groups and a lawmaker have filed formal complaints against her in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Violations against the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and Cybercrime Prevention Act
Uson in September 2018 released a video on her Facebook page “Mocha Uson Blog” with her friend Andrew Olivar that mocked the local deaf community.
Olivar imitated the sign language and made noises mocking those with hearing and speech impairments. Uson laughed in the background and exclaimed to her friend, “Para kang unggoy diyan!”
Despite issuing an apology, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf filed a complaint to the Ombudsman accusing the two of violating three laws.
According to the organization, Uson and Olivar committed a violation under Section 41 of the Republic Act 9442 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons Act that states:
“No individual, group or community shall execute any of these acts of ridicule against persons with disability in any time and place which could intimidate or result in loss of self-esteem of the latter.”
Acts of ridicule include “making fun or contemptuous imitating or making (a) mockery of persons with disability whether in writing, or in words, or in action due to their impairment/s.”
Furthermore, Uson was tagged for violating certain norms expected of public officials listed under Section 4 of the Republic Act 6713 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
It states that government employees are supposed to practice full “commitment to public interest” and conduct their duties with utmost “professionalism” where they “shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.”
Both of them are also tagged in violating Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, although the organization failed to specify the terms violated. The particular law addresses any legal issues that arise from online interactions and the internet.
Accused of committing grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service
Akbayan Youth in April 2018 filed administrative charges to Uson in the Ombudsman for consistently spreading false and misleading information in her Facebook page.
The group submitted a 12-page report that listed specific instances of her sharing unverified statements and articles from questionable websites that had dubious content.
According to the group, “the online and public persona of public official Uson is the source of numerous and deliberate misinformation.”
They argued that her online persona goes against the mandate of a PCOO official who is supposed to be a primary vehicle of delivering credible information to the citizenry.
Accused of falsifying documents and committing violations against the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti-Graft and Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in September 2017 filed six criminal cases and one administrative case against Uson in the Ombudsman.
The former PCOO assistant secretary accused the lawmaker of having a secret bank account in Singapore, where she shared pictures and website links that pertained to his supposed bank documents.
The allegation originally came from President Rodrigo Duterte, who later on admitted that he had made up the account numbers.
This prompted the senator to accuse Uson of cyberlibel, where he said, “As a responsible senior government official, we have a higher standard. The truthfulness of the information should have been verified before it was shared.”
In addition, Trillanes accused her of committing graft “for using her position to cause undue harm to another party” through her Facebook post.
He also tagged her for committing violations under the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials for performing in casinos despite being a government employee. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos; Additional photo from Carolyn Dagani via Facebook