FACT CHECK: Akbayan’s Villarin and Hontiveros are not in a relationship

Claim: The Trending PH blog, trendingph.altervista.org, claims Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin and Senate Risa Hontiveros, his party mate, are in a romantic relationship. 

The blog published a video entitled “MUST WATCH!! RELASYON NI RISA HONTIVEROS AT AKBAYAN REP. TOM VILLARIN NABISTO! PANOORIN!” 

The said video is an edited version of CNN Philippines’ video report on Villarin filing a theft complaint against Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras, who allegedly tried to steal Villarin's phone during a House committee meeting in March. 

Sinabi niya na, ‘Kayo pala ni Senator Hontiveros ang magkasama,’” said Villarin in the video.

Trending PH is insinuating the Filipino translation of Villarin’s statement is, “He said, ‘You and Senator Hontiveros are in a relationship.’” 

The facts: This is not what Villarin meant to say.

The correct translation of his Filipino quote should be interpreted as follows, “He said, ‘You and Senator Hontiveros are colleagues.”

Villarin and Hontiveros are opposition lawmakers who belong to the Akbayan Party-list.

Villarin told the media what Paras had told him during the March committee hearing, to support his belief that the labor official’s possible motive was to snoop about his conversations with Hontiveros. 

In the same video, Villarin said Paras’ words to him shows the latter’s “malicious intent.”

This is further supported by Villarin’s privilege speech on Wednesday, May 30. 

A part of his speech goes: “What gain is it to him? Is there intent or malice involved? People and the media have asked and I answered straight that it might be because I am with the opposition and any information gathered on me can be used against me or my party mate, Senator Risa Hontiveros. Before he became undersecretary, Paras was with the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption [which] filed kidnapping and anti-wiretapping charges against Senator Hontiveros over the Kian delos Santos murder, [where] Senator Hontiveros and Bishop Pablo David took into their protective custody children who witnessed the murder.”

Hontiveros was married to the late Frank Baraquel, a former officer of the Philippine National Police. Baraquel passed away in 2005 after suffering from a severe asthma attack. – Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com