Sen. Risa Hontiveros didn’t say her job is to ruin the government and not help Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook page Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 invented the quote and attributed it to the opposition senator in its April 23 post:
ANG TRABAHO KO LANG AY SIRAIN ANG GOBYERNO KAYA HINDI NYO AKO NAKIKITANG TUMUTULONG SA MGA PILIPINO NGAYONG KRISIS (My only job is to destroy the government. That’s why you don’t see me helping Filipinos during this crisis)!
The fabricated quotation was superimposed on a photo Australian Broadcasting Corp. took of Hontiveros in May last year.
Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 put out the fake quote after Hontiveros called on China on April 22 to foot the Philippine government's expenses in responding to the COVID-19 crisis as payment for destroying the country’s reefs in Scarborough Shoal and West Philippine Sea.
In her press release, Hontiveros estimated annual losses arising from the destruction of the reefs at a minimum P33.1 billion. She also urged the government to demand P50 billion in unpaid taxes from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators run mostly by Chinese.
Nowhere in the press release did Hontiveros say what Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 attributed to her.
Hontiveros had opposed the grant of emergency powers to Duterte.
China, which has donated COVID-19 test kits and medical supplies and sent a medical team to the Philippines, reacted strongly to Hontiveros’ statement.
Its embassy spokesperson said: “At this trying time, it is ridiculously absurd and irresponsible to make such remarks for the sole purpose of catching eyeballs and for selfish political gains.”
In its status update, Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 also said:
China is the is the sole country so far to have succeeded in containing — mostly likely vanquishing — the pandemic in their territory.
It also urged Hontiveros to “return our Philihealth funds.”
The novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 started in China in December 2019. China drastically reduced the number of new cases, or flattened its curve, in March after months of locking down Wuhan City, the epicenter of the outbreak.
South Korea has been able to control the spread of the virus more quickly without a lockdown, even holding parliamentary elections on April 15.
Older social media posts claiming that the Commission on Audit ordered Hontiveros in January 2018 to return P160 million to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth are false. Hontiveros previously served on the PhilHealth board.
Created in January 2019, Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 said the page “is for people who support Sara Duterte for president 2022.” It has about 50,000 followers.
Its fake Hontiveros quote found its way to 46 Facebook groups with a reach of nearly 2.3 million. It generated 12,067 interactions, including 2,859 shares. Many of the groups are supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, Sen. Christopher Go and the Marcoses.
Hontiveros: China should foot the Philippines' COVID-19 bill. (2020, April 22). Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2020/0422_hontiveros1.asp
Lai, K., & Collins, K. (2020, March 19). Which country has flattened the curve for the coronavirus? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/19/world/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve-countries.html
McCurry, J. (2020, April 23). Test, trace, contain: how South Korea flattened its coronavirus curve. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/23/test-trace-contain-how-south-korea-flattened-its-coronavirus-curve
MISLEADING: VACC filed complaints vs Hontiveros for 'stealing PhilHealth funds.' (2019, August 22). Rappler. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/238050-vacc-filed-complaints-against-hontiveros-stealing-philhealth-funds
No, a Philippine lawmaker has not been ordered to pay back 160 million pesos to the government. (2018, August 31). Agence France Presse. Retrieved from https://factcheck.afp.com/no-philippine-lawmaker-has-not-been-ordered-pay-back-160-million-pesos-government
Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022. (2020, Apil 23). Bakit may sira-ulong senadora na nag-aakusa sa isang bansa at humihingi ng reparation damages sa isang sakuna o sakit na di makontrol ang pagkalat [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/pg/Solid.Sarah.Z.Duterte.2022.supporters/posts/
Statement by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines. (2020, April 22). Retrieved from http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/sgdt/t1772370.htm
Tacon, D. (2019, May 10). Senator Risa Hontiveros. ABC. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-10/senator-risa-hontiveros-1/11101438
United Nations Development Program. (2020, April 16). Flattening the curve on COVID-19. Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/content/seoul_policy_center/en/home/presscenter/articles/2019/flattening-the-curve-on-covid-19.html
VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online posts claiming Hontiveros involved in PhilHealth bonuses mess FALSE. (2018, August 27). Retrieved from https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-online-posts-claiming-hontiveros-invol