Senator Risa Hontiveros has become a subject of several fake stories, with some even portraying her as a sympathizer of the terror Maute group. This time, some Facebook pages are sharing Hontiveros’ photo along with her alleged statement that she wanted the Filipino soldiers probed over allegations that there might have been overkill in the killing of terrorists Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute on October 16.
“Masaya akong natapos na ang ilang buwan na gulo sa Marawi. Ngunit kailangan parin natin Imbistigahan ang mga sundalo kung may nalabag ba silang Human Rights.Kasi mukhang overkill ang pagpatay nila kay Maute at Hapilon base sa photo na nakita sa Social Media,” the statement attributed to Hontiveros read.
It was being shared by pages such as “News Blog Radio,” whose post now has now been shared over 2,700 times and reacted to 1,300 times.
Facebook page “Duterte’s Warriors Upgrade” shared the photo too.
We tried to verify whether Hontiveros really made that statement against the soldiers who fought in Marawi City.
First, we tried Google reverse image search and found that News5 used the same photo of Hontiveros in some of its graphics for other statements dated August 24, 2017; September 14, 2017; and August 22, 2017.
However, we could not find another graphics from News5, where the now viral photo seemed to have originated.
Upon seeing the other graphics from News5, we noticed that the now-viral graphics flaunted by “News Blog Radio” and “Duterte’s Warriors Upgrade” does not show the date when Hontivoros made the remark, just like the other News5 graphics we’ve seen so far.
Another thing we noticed that made us doubt the authenticity of the graphics is the inconsistency in its capitalization with the words “Imbistigahan,” “Human Rights,” and “Social Media,” which are not proper nouns with first letters that should be capitalized.
But the biggest reason for doubting the authenticity of the statement in the graphics in question is because we could not find credible sources carrying the said statement.
We tried searching for the other sources of the statements put into graphics by News5. Here are some examples:
- “From the very start they were saying that Kian was executed. This is not the alternative version that is being floated that he engaged police in a shootout. They want to help the family of Kian get justice.”
Aside from the graphics found on News5’s site of this Hontiveros statement on slain teenager Kian delos Santos on August 22, 2017, we also found the senator’s statement in the Philippine Star report “Witnesses in Kian’s killing ready to testify – Hontiveros” published and updated on August 23, 2017.
- “Kung nais nating bigyan ng katarungan si Kian, at kung nais natin na hindi na magkaroon ng dagdag na Kian, bigyan natin ng boses at sapat na kalinga ang mga naging saksi ng kanyang pagkamatay.”
News5 shared the graphics of this statement from Hontiveros made on August 24, 2017 on their Facebook page. Aside from that, the remark was also carried as a press release from the senator’s office that was published on the official website of the Senate of the Philippines on August 24, 2017.
- “His shameful and deceitful text conversation was simply inadvertently caught by someone’s camera lens. Thus, there was no intent to tap or intercept his messages. There was no reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Hontiveros made this statement on September 14, 2017 and News5 included the graphics in its report “HINDI TAKOT | Sen. Hontiveros: See you in court, Mr. Aguirre.” The same statement can also be found on the Facebook post of the “Senate of the Philippines.”
But when we tried to look for other sources that could be carrying Hontiveros’ alleged statement about wanting to investigate the soldiers for overkill in the terrorists’ death, we could not find any.
Hontiveros did release a statement after the death of Hapilon and Maute, but it was all about commending the efforts of the brave soldiers in stopping the terrorist leaders and protecting the lives of the Filipinos. This is what she said, based on the statement published on the Senate’s official website:
“Nais kong bigyan ng pagpupugay ang ating mga matatapang na sundalo sa ilalim ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa kanilang matagumpay na pagsugpo sa ilang pangunahing lider ng teroristang Maute group.
I commend the brave men and women of our uniformed service who are fulfilling their duty to protect the lives of our people from the Maute group’s acts of terror. They risk their lives for our safety. They deserve our utmost support and praise.
From the start, I have been confident that with or without Martial Law, our brave soldiers will be able to defeat the terrorist threat in Marawi. I hope this latest development will convince the government to lift Martial Law in Mindanao and begin the challenging task of rebuilding Marawi and the lives of all those affected by this conflict.”
Nowhere did she say in her official statement on the death of Maute and Hapilon that she wanted to have the soldiers investigated for their suspected overkill of the two terrorist leaders. The other statement that said otherwise was made up, especially when we could not find credible sources carrying the same remarks.
Previous memes tried to paint Hontiveros as a sympathizer and supporter of Maute group. One showed her holding a #PrayForMaute sign, which turned out to be edited, while another attributed a fake statement to her where she allegedly called Maute the “epitome of courage and resilience” and a source of inspiration.