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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Former spox Roque’s claim on health care law authorship needs context

Needs context

An infographic credited former Kabayan Party-list representative Harry Roque as author of the Universal Health Care Law. This needs context because he is only one among over a hundred other lawmakers listed as authors.

House Bill (HB) No. 5784, filed during the 17th Congress (July 2016 – June 2019), was co-authored by 116 members of the House while 13 senators were credited for the Senate version of the measure.


On Dec. 8, the Facebook page of Roque, a senatorial aspirant in the 2022 elections, claimed that the former Palace spokesperson “authored” the law, which “gave Filipinos equitable access to quality and affordable health care services.”

The caption said:

“Have you been hospitalized and went out without paying a single centavo? That’s because Harry Roque went to work. #ActionMan”

Source: Harry Roque official Facebook page, Have you been hospitalized… (Archived), Dec. 8, 2021

While some netizens thanked Roque, others complained about poor hospital facilities. The law’s implementing rules and regulations were also criticized as “garbage” that reeked of corruption and abuse.


The FB posts failed to credit the other authors of the measure in the House and the Senate.

Roque was one of the 11 principal authors of House Bill (HB) No. 5784, a consolidation of similar bills filed in the 17th Congress, according to Committee Report No. 273.

Other authors of the measure were Reps. Angelina Tan, Vilma Santos-Recto, Ron P. Salo, Rose Marie “Baby” J. Arenas, Evelina G. Escudero, Cheryl P. Deloso-Montalla, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Estrelita B. Suansing, Victoria Isabel G. Noel, and Dephine Gan Lee.

Roque originally filed HB No. 225, while the others had HB Nos. 1975, 5120, and 5560. All these were eventually consolidated into HB No. 5784.

When HB 5784 was approved on third and final reading, the number of authors rose to 116.

Senate version

Nine senators were named authors of Senate Bill No. 1898: former senator JV Ejercito, Sens. Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Leila De Lima, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, and Risa Hontiveros, based on Senate Committee Report No. 401.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, as well as Sen. Manny Pacquiao, were added as co-authors of the bill when it reached third and final reading.

Roque’s FB post garnered over 1,500 reactions, 66 comments, and 68 shares as of this writing.

It came out on Dec. 8, the same day Roque’s FB page uploaded a post crediting the former Palace spokesman for authoring the Free Irrigation Service Act when he was a congressman.


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Harry Roque official Facebook page, Have you been hospitalized… (Archived), Dec. 8, 2021

House of Representatives, Committee Report No. 273, May 30, 2017

House of Representatives, HB No. 5784 third reading copy, accessed Dec. 13, 2021

House of Representatives, HB No. 225, June 30, 2016

Senate of the Philippines, Committee Report No. 401, July 31, 2018

Senate of the Philippines, SB No. 1896 third reading copy, Oct. 17, 2018

Harry Roque official Facebook page, Mahal ni Harry Roque ang mga magsasaka…, Dec. 8, 2021


(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.)