VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO Marcos order to jail Hontiveros over PhilHealth mess


A YouTube video claimed that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the jailing of Sen. Risa Hontiveros for her involvement in the bonus mess at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (Philhealth). This is false and the claim that she pocketed funds has been repeatedly debunked.

Uploaded on Sept. 21, the video bore the headline: 

“Just now : Expose na! Walang Kawala si Hontiveros sa Philhealth di-makapaniwala sa Utos ni PRES BBM (Already exposed! Hontiveros cannot escape PhilHealth, she can’t believe the order from President Bongbong Marcos).” 

Its thumbnail carried this text: “MANAGOT KASA (sic) BATAS! ITO ANG BANGUNGOT NI HONTIVEROS. KULONG NA! (You will be held liable to the law! This is the nightmare of Hontiveros. Put in jail)!”

There is no such order from Marcos. Neither is there basis for any legal action as the senator was not involved in the 2014 PhilHealth bonus controversy. There are no pending cases involving Hontiveros and Philhealth, where she once served as a Board Member. 

At the beginning of the video, a narrator repeated the false claim that Hontiveros was one of the officials ordered by the Court to return pilfered funds from the state health insurance firm.

This claim has been debunked several times. In a 2018 message to VERA Files Fact Check, ​​Philhealth corporate communications manager Rey Balena said Hontiveros was not among the officials ordered to return money

Hontiveros’ camp also denied in a 2018 email that she had anything to do with the issue, saying the senator is not “party to the case wherein the [Commission on Audit] has ordered the officials of PhilHealth to return P163.85 million in alleged unauthorized bonuses and allowances.” 

The rest of the video only showed a January article from on Marcos’ order to suspend PhilHealth rate hikes this year, followed by a commentary from a previously fact-checked vlogger on the same health insurance mess.

The video emerged two weeks after PhilHealth presented its proposed P101.5-million budget for 2024 during a House committee hearing. 

Uploaded by YouTube channels PINAS VIRAL NEWS and WANGBUDISS TV, the erroneous video currently has 21,203 views. Netizens also shared the links on Facebook.

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