VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Hontiveros quote card on removing police from streets the right response to COVID-19 FAKE

A netizen published a fake quote card claiming Sen. Risa Hontiveros has said ridding the streets of police and military, rather than providing financial assistance to the public, is the right response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Uploaded March 25 on Facebook (FB), the concocted post carried an file photo of the opposition senator taken during a Senate probe on the drug war in August 2016, with the text: “Hindi tulong financial ang kailangan ng taong bayan para labanan ang Covid 19, kundi ang pagtanggal ng mga pulis at militar sa ating mga lansangan (It’s not financial assistance that the public needs to fight COVID-19, but getting rid of the police and military from our streets).”

The netizen, in her caption, expressed displeasure and likened Hontiveros to Filipino citizens “who refuse to follow government policies.” She also urged her to “return” the money of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to aid those in need of help.

The quote is fabricated. There are no official records of Hontiveros making such a statement; no legitimate news organization has reported it.

The fake quote card circulated two days after the senator said in a March 24 post on her official FB page that she voted against the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” which Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed that day. The law gives Duterte additional powers and access to a P270-billion budget to implement measures to fight the spread of COVID-19

The netizen’s post seems to have twisted comments by the legislator a day earlier where she said the grant of additional powers to the executive branch was “unnecessary.” The urgent needs, she said, are “more funds to expand our health capacity, more economic safety nets, more testing and care for COVID-19 patients.”

Hontiveros has also called for the provision of hazard pay for COVID-19 front liners including the police and military in FB posts on March 16 and March 21.

VERA Files Fact Check has previously flagged the unsubstantiated claim that Hontiveros was involved in the PhilHealth bonuses mess. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Website rehashes FALSE claim linking Hontiveros to PhilHealth bonus controversy)

The netizen’s false post has been shared for 4,200 times garnering over 3,100 reactions and 3,600 comments.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)