Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not part of 2014 PhilHealth bonus scandal


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FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not part of 2014 PhilHealth bonus scandal
Rappler has repeatedly debunked the false claim, which resurfaces amid Hontiveros’ criticism of Vice President Sara Duterte’s use of confidential funds

Claim: Senator Risa Hontiveros was involved in the 2014 Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) scandal involving illegal bonuses paid out to officials and employees.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a Facebook video posted on September 14, which has 8,000 views, 457 reactions, and 113 shares from a page with 3,600 followers.


(Hontiveros’ dirty secret uncovered by a TikToker. Look who’s pretending to be clean!)

The video cited an ANC news clip as proof of Hontiveros’ supposed involvement in the 2014 scandal. 

The bottom line: Hontiveros was not involved in the 2014 Philhealth bonus mess. Rappler and other fact-checking bodies have repeatedly debunked the claim, which resurfaced following the senator’s recent criticism of Vice President Sara Duterte’s controversial use of confidential funds.

No involvement: In 2018, the Commission on Audit affirmed its earlier decision to disallow P164 million in unauthorized allowances and bonuses granted to Philhealth employees in 2009, 2010, and 2014. 

The COA decision however did not name any PhilHealth board member as being responsible for the illegal perks, as previously reported by Rappler.

Hontiveros became a member of the Philhealth board from November 2014 to October 2015, after the illegal allowances had been released. She quit to file her certificate of candidacy for the 2016 senatorial elections.

Both Philhealth and Hontiveros have denied the senator’s supposed involvement, according to a Vera Files article.

No mention: The December 2022 ANC news clip cited in the misleading video did not mention or connect Hontiveros to the 2014 scandal. Instead, it reported on the Supreme Court’s order for Philhealth officials to return P83 million in unauthorized benefits paid out in 2014.

The September 27, 2022, court ruling did not name Hontiveros among those liable for granting disallowed benefits and allowances.

Recycled: Rappler has published several fact check articles on Hontiveros’ supposed involvement in the Philhealth anomaly since 2018

The same claims recently resurfaced after Hontiveros called on Duterte to account for the use of confidential funds for both the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education, which she leads in a concurrent capacity. (READ: In confidential funds fiasco, Sara Duterte resorts to personal attacks vs critics)

The opposition senator and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro have been singled out by Duterte for questioning the use of confidential funds. – Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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