VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Story on anti-corruption org filing raps vs Hontiveros over Philhealth bonuses mess MISLEADING

Website’s July 8 report claiming that the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has lodged corruption complaints against Sen. Risa Hontiveros for “stealing” during her stint at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is false and misleading.

Bearing the headline, “Risa Hontiveros sinampahan ng patong patong na kaso at Posibleng makukulong (Risa Hontiveros faces pile of complaints and possible imprisonment),” the misleading story claimed in its text that the cases against the senator were for “stealing PhilHealth funds.”

It also featured as its thumbnail a photo splicing together an undated screengrab of Hontiveros during an ambush interview, and a September 2017 ABS-CBN photo of VACC representatives with a copy of the cases they filed against Hontiveros.

While the anti-crime and corruption organization has indeed filed complaints against the senator, none of them are about alleged corruption at PhilHealth.

On Sept. 24, 2017, the VACC, led by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras, filed the following complaints against Hontiveros:

  • wiretapping, for exposing an exchange of text messages between Paras and resigned Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre during a Senate hearing on the killing of drug war victim Kian Lloyd Delos Santos; and
  • kidnapping, obstruction of justice and child abuse, for taking under custody three witnesses of Delos Santos’ death.

The claim on the involvement of Hontiveros, a former PhilHealth board member, in a controversy about the institution’s multi-million-peso bonuses was debunked by VERA Files Fact Check last year. (See: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online posts claiming Hontiveros involved in PhilHealth bonuses mess FALSE) published its misleading story four days after Hontiveros, through a tweet on July 4, said that the lives lost during the war on drugs should not be trivialized. This was in reaction to comments made by top-cop-turned-senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa who said “Sh*t happens” following the death of a three-year-old girl during an anti-drug operation by the police.

The misleading story could have reached over 1.1 million people. Top traffic generators from social media came from Facebook pages DDS New York, Pinoy News Portal, Pres. Rody Duterte Worldwide Supporters. was created in April 2018.


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