Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not included in SC ruling on PhilHealth unauthorized perks


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FACT CHECK: Hontiveros not included in SC ruling on PhilHealth unauthorized perks
Senator Risa Hontiveros could not have been involved in the release of unauthorized allowances in 2010 as the senator became a PhilHealth board member in 2014

Claim: A recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling sentenced Senator Risa Hontiveros for the unauthorized bonuses paid to Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) officials and employees in 2010. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in YouTube videos posted on June 17. One of the videos has 4,988 views and was posted by a channel with 27,000 subscribers. Another channel with 116,000 subscribers posted a video with a similar claim. 

The video’s title reads: “Grabe to! PhilHealth ni Hontiveros hinatulan ng korte. Marcoleta, Sonza hawak ebidensya.” (This is insane! Hontiveros’s [act] in PhilHealth sentenced by a court. Marcoleta, Sonza hold evidence.)

The facts: Hontiveros was not involved in the 2010 PhilHealth bonus mess as it happened before the senator was appointed a board member of the state insurer. 

As previously reported by Rappler, Hontiveros was a PhilHealth board member from November 2014 to October 2015, by which time the illegal allowances had already been released.

In a 2018 Vera Files fact check, former PhilHealth corporate communication manager Rey Baleña refuted Hontiveros’ alleged inclusion in the notices of disallowances for the unauthorized perks released in 2009, 2010, and 2014.

“Former Board Member and now Senator Risa Hontiveros is not included in the subject Notice of Disallowance (ND),” Baleña said in an email to Vera Files. 


SC ruling: The false claim on Hontiveros’ involvement in the PhilHealth scandal surfaced following the February 2024 Supreme Court decision upholding the notices of disallowances issued by the Commission on Audit (COA). The state auditor had flagged Philhealth’s issuance of allowances totaling P43.8 million to its officials and employees in 2010.

In its 15-page decision, the High Court junked PhilHealth’s petition to set aside COA’s 2016 ruling and 2020 resolution, which denied the state insurer’s petition for a review of the notice for lack of merit. The SC noted that COA did not commit grave abuse of discretion, and said PhilHealth “must ensure the availability of funds and must carry out its fiduciary responsibility through effective stewardship, proper management, and maintenance of reserves.”

Similar fact checks: Hontiveros has been repeatedly linked to the PhilHealth corruption scandal – in 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2019. Rappler has published multiple fact-checks debunking these claims:

False claims on Hontiveros’ supposed involvement in the PhilHealth anomalies resurfaced in recent months amid the senator’s probe into the alleged human rights abuses of fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy. – Ailla Dela Cruz/Rappler.com

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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