Here’s a hashtag that’s slowly gaining traction today: #ProtectSenatorRisa. Several cards made by the Superficial Gazette are now circulating online bearing the tag with information aiming to disprove allegations that former Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) board member Senator Risa Hontiveros is part of the so-called mafia behind the agency’s P153 billion loss to fraud.
On Aug. 4, one of the admins for the Mocha Uson Blog, which has been mass reported several times for spreading fake news, shared a post from a user who said that the senator should provide an explanation for the alleged corruption in the agency as a “former Excom member ng Philhealth.” Admin AIN tagged the senator’s Facebook page and asked for a statement.
Hontiveros responded with her own post which included a side-by-side of a screenshot of the blog post with a photo of Mocha Uson and PhilHealth corporate communications manager Rey Baleña’s statement and a Vera Files article clarifying that she did not receive a notice of disallowance in connection to the illegal bonuses received by a number of PhilHealth officials. “Mag-focus ka sa trabaho mo sa OWWA imbes na magpakalat ng #FakeNews,” she said. “Nakalimutan mong 4 years na kayong nakaupo? Sa gitna ng pandemya chismis pa ang inuna.”
Mag-focus ka sa trabaho mo sa OWWA imbes na magpakalat ng #FakeNews.
Kailangan ng tulong ng OFWs pero nagawa mo pang magkalat ng chismis sa isyu na pinabulaanan na ng COA at PhilHealth mismo.
Nakalimutan mong 4 years na kayong nakaupo? Si gitna ng pandemya chismis pa ang inuna. pic.twitter.com/TH5r8tUm8y
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) August 4, 2020
Uson, deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) subpoenaed over violating the fake news provisions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, reacted on her new Facebook page by saying that the post was not written by her and that the senator should have just answered the question posed by the user.
In an interview with radio station dzBB, Hontiveros spoke at length about being linked to the controversy. “Siguro dahil malakas akong kritiko ng presidente, at wala na sila mabato sa akin, kaya kahit ilang taon na ako wala sa PhilHealth, cleared ng Commission on Audit, cleared ng PhilHealth mismo, patuloy pa rin ang pagpapakalat ng fake news sakin sa social media, ng mga fake news peddlers gaya nila Mocha Uson,” she said.
She stated that fake news peddling is a tactic meant to derail Senate investigations. She adds, “Ang importante sa lahat, kailangan natin buwagin ang kahit anong mafia na nabuo sa PhilHealth, kung totoo na bilyones ang nawala, at sigurado malaki ang pera at malaki ang protektor, wala tayong sasantuhin, walang sacred cows, walang exemption.”
Hopefully, we can get this out of the way soon because we have PhilHealth heads that seem to be trying to get a get-out-of-jail card.
Preen.PH has reached out to Hontiveros, Uson and the Mocha Uson Blog for comment.
Photo courtesy of Richard A. Reyes / Inquirer.net
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