Senator Risa Hontiveros allegedly hailed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Joma Sison as a ‘true hero,’ according to at least two blogs.
Blogs pinoyobserver.com and netiviral.com carried and published the story on July 23 with the title, “Hontiveros to Students: Prof. Joma Sison Live, and Will Die a True Hero.” The story has been shared over 8,200 times, as of writing.
The source of the story turned out to be Pinoy Observer, which has shared several fake stories that we’ve busted before. According to the website, Hontiveros told 350 senior high school students at the University of the Philippines on July 21 that the younger generation should put the highest value on human rights. She once again hit the killings under the Duterte administration, defended the New People’s Army, and criticized Duterte for claiming that Sison has colon cancer.
“Our biggest concern is the health of our president and not the health of Professor Sison. The country is under Pres. Duterte’s hands. His health is a big deal, while Prof. Sison lives, and will die a true hero,” Hontiveros allegedly said.
But no matter how much we checked whether Hontiveros commented on Duterte revealing Sison’s alleged health condition, we could not find any other report carrying that statement. She did call Sison a hero or defended the CPP founder against Duterte’s claim during his second SONA on July 24.
What she actually said was that Duterte was talking about the “same old material” during his SONA.
“All sound and fury. Lacking in achievements for the bold promises he made,” she said in a statement.
We also checked the other direct quotes in Pinoy Observer’s article, but we could not find them in any other reports as well, which points to them being made up.
We read the new About Us page of Pinoy Observer and found out that they now have two disclaimers – “the not so serious one” and “the serious one.” In their serious disclaimer, they claimed to be a satirical blog that use “50% facts and 50% satire,” mixing fact and fiction in their articles.
Since we could not verify the statements that Hontiveros allegedly said about the NPAs and Sison, they are likely made up by Pinoy Observer for this satirical article.
The photo they used of Hontiveros in her purple dress had a misleading caption as it claimed to be taken at “UP laboratory School.”
However, the photo was actually taken during the Women Defend Democracy Forum on March 8 at Miriam College in Quezon City, based on this photo published by GMA Network. During the forum, she talked about how the Senate passed the120-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.
Before declaring itself as a satirical blog, Pinoy Observer published fake articles, such as those claiming that BBC anchor Stephen Sackur suggested to Filipinos to elect more intelligent senators, Oxford law professor claiming Duterte cannot be prosecuted by the ICC because of his high approval ratings, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines telling Bulacan massacre kin to forgive and forget.
Hontiveros did not call Sison a hero or criticize Duterte for claiming that Sison has colon cancer. The story was published by a website that is now claiming to be a satirical blog.
Unfortunately, many netizens seemed to have taken the story seriously and bashed Hontiveros for it.
Even the former Undersecretary for Special Concerns Abraham “Abe” Purugganan during the Arroyo administration fell for the satirical news when he shared it on Facebook.
Commenters on Purugganan’s post definitely did not hold back in slamming the senator.