MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday branded as “fake news” and “diversionary tactics” the allegations of her involvement in anomalies hounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), owing to her previous stint at the state insurer as board member.
In an interview with radio station dzBB, Hontiveros named Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) deputy administrator Mocha Uson as among those allegedly peddling lies about her, linking her to the recent controversies in PhilHealth.
“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,” Hontiveros said.
(Maybe because I am a staunch critic of the President, and since they can no longer lodge anything against me, so even if I have not been with PhilHealth for many years and despite being cleared by both the Commission on Audit and PhilHealth, they still spread fake news about me on social media. These come from fake news peddler such as Mocha Uson.)
“Alam mo, pilit nililihis, bilang diversionary tactic, ng mga fake news peddlers gaya nila Mocha Uson, nililihis ang imbestigasyon natin sa Senado at sa korapsyon na gawa ng kasalukuyang nakaupo,” the senator added.
(Fake news peddlers such as Mocha Uson are trying to use this as a diversionary tactic amid the investigation in the Senate.)
Hontiveros said that it is important to dismantle the “mafia” within PhilHealth and to hold those involved in corrupt practices accountable as the state insurance agency faces probe in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“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,” Hontiveros said.
(What is important is we dismantle the mafia that has formed in PhilHealth. If it is true that billions of money were lost and there is a protector, there will be no sacred cows, no exemption.)
A post on Facebook page Mocha Uson Blog dated August 4 asked its followers for their comments on a suggestion that it should be Hontiveros who should explain the anomalies in the agency.
Hontiveros slammed this on the same day through a Twitter post, saying that Uson should focus on her job in OWWA instead of spreading fake news in her page.
In response, Uson said that the post was made by a blogger named AIN, and that Mocha Uson Blog is not her personal Facebook page but rather a page maintained by a group of bloggers.
“Kesa na kayo ay praning na praning sana po ay sinagot niyo nalang ang tanong ng blogger na si AIN kung wala kayong tinatago po,” Uson said.
(Instead of being paranoid, I hope you just answered the question of blogger AIN if you are not hiding anything.)
Meanwhile, Hontiveros also said she has not heard administration Senator Bong Go make similar allegations against her contrary to reports on social media.
“Kaming lahat sa Senate Committee of the Whole ay nakatuon sa imbestigasyon para tukuyin ang mga miyembro ng grupo o mafia. Ang pinakaimportante talaga ngayon ay protektahan ang pera ng mamamayan, ng mga mahihirap, lalo na nasa gitna na tayo ng pandemiya,” Hontiveros said.
(Everyone of us in the committee of the whole is focused on the investigation to know the members of these mafia. The important thing right now is to protect public funds, the money of the poor especially as we are facing a pandemic.)