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FACT CHECK | Senator Risa Hontiveros not up for reelection in 2025 or 2028

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MindaNews fact-checked the statement of lawyer Harry Roque that Senator Risa Hontiveros has been holding committee hearings on the allegations of sexual abuse and other crimes against embattled Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, to boost the lawmaker’s reelection chances. The statement is false.

In a video apparently created on March 10 but posted on his Facebook wall on March 11 at 7:52 p.m., Roque asked Hontiveros to stop the Senate investigation on Quiboloy, claiming she has been doing it in “aid of reelection.”

He said the filing of criminal charges against Quiboloy by the Department of Justice (DOJ) will work in favor of the self-appointed Son of God, as this development means the “Senate has lost jurisdiction of the cases based on the principle of separation of powers between the legislative and the judiciary.”

“Ibig sabihin, shut up, HontiVIRUS, wala ka ng hurisdiksyon, laos ka na naman, hindi ka na pwedeng makakuha ng boto diyan sa iyong in aid of reelection na imbestigasyon na ginawa kay Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. Beh, buti nga. Tameme ka na naman. Kung hindi mo seguro binuhay ang kontrobersiya na ito sa pamamagitan ng inyong OA na mga testigo na hindi naman pinaniwalaan ng mga piskal noong unang instance, hindi na seguro mag-iisip na baliktarin ng DOJ itong kasong ito.” (emphasis supplied)

(Translation: This means, shut up, HontiVIRUS, you no longer have jurisdiction, you’re a has-been again, you can no longer earn votes from your investigation of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy that’s intended to aid your reelection. Beh, good for you. You’re dumbfounded again. If you haven’t resurrected this controversy through your overacting witnesses who were dismissed by the fiscal (prosecutor) in the previous instance, the DOJ would not have reversed the ruling on this case.)

Hontiveros was first elected in 2016 and reelected to a second term in 2022. Since the 1987 Constitution provides that senators serve only two consecutive six-year terms, her term will end on June 30, 2028, which means she won’t be a candidate for senator in 2025 and no longer eligible for reelection in May 2028.

Article VI, Section 4 of the Constitution provides: “The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term of which he was elected.” (emphasis supplied)

Last March 5, Hontiveros, chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, cited Quiboloy for contempt  for defying the Senate’s subpoena for him to appear at the committee hearing that day. He had earlier snubbed the hearings twice, prompting the Senate to issue a subpoena.

Hontiveros then requested Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to order Quiboloy’s arrest “so that he may be brought to testify.”

“Yong desisyon ng DOJ na isampa ang kaso laban kay Pastor Apollo Quiboloy ay magiging dahilan para itigil ang trial by publicity laban sa kanya (The decision of the DOJ to file cases against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy would mean the trial of publicity against him should stop),” Roque said.

He said the sex trafficking and rape cases were the same cases dismissed by the Davao prosecutor’s office “for lack of evidence” but filed before the DOJ on petition for review.

Roque also said that “the filing of cases by the DOJ means Quiboloy could not be extradited to the US at this time because he is now under the jurisdiction of the Philippine courts.”

Quiboloy has been indicted in the US for sex trafficking, cash smuggling and other criminal charges. Judge Terry Hatter Jr. from the California Central has ordered the unsealing of arrest warrants against the controversial sect leader following a request from the United States Attorney Criminal Division which handles his case.

As of 11:35 a.m. on March 16, Roque’s video had 19,000 views, and had drawn 1,931 reactions, 252 shares and 267 comments. His page has 1.5 million followers as of the same date.

A portion of the same video, which included Roque’s statement that the Senate committee hearings are merely “in aid of reelection” for Hontiveros, was shared on March 12 on the BANAT BY YouTube channel, which has 746,000 subscribers. As of 4:00 pm on March 12, it had 11,319 views, 917 reactions and 147 comments. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism. It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media.

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About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve. 

What is MindaNews Fact Check?

MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.

Why we fact-check?

Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.

As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.

How do we rate claims?

FAKE -  if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE - if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

MISSING CONTEXT – if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.

Where do you post your results?

We post our fact-checked stories in mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found. 

How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate. 

Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website. 

Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries. 

Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections. 

Where do you get funds?

MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service  (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors.  Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews. 

MindaNews does not accept funds from politicians or domestic or foreign states for its fact-checking initiative. For the other operations of MindaNews as a media organization in the past two years, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which we use for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses and to train other journalists.

MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

Do you accept leads from the public for your fact-checking initiative?

MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.

Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

Step 3:  Fact-checked claims are then submitted to the editor for copy editing and vetting. The link/s to debunk the claim are always included in the story.  

Step 4: A rating card is prepared to accompany the fact-checked piece, or infographics if needed, to immediately flag readers what the article is all about. 

Step 5: The senior editor takes another look before the article is posted on the website and social media accounts.

Correction Policy

Consistent with our vision and mission as a media institution, we rectify any error committed. If you spot a factual error, you may notify us thru editor@mindanews.com or our Facebook Messenger @Mindanews.

Correction Workflow

  • Errors pointed out are immediately brought to the attention of the editors and the fact-checking team. 

  • The fact-checker is immediately notified for verification. 

  • Once verified, the error is to be corrected within 24 hours and vetted before publication on the website. 

  • Readers will immediately know errors have been corrected through the Editor’s note posted above the article. 

  • The person who notified MindaNews about the error will be informed that the correction has been made.

About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors.

MindaNews values its journalistic independence. It started in May 2001 as a media cooperative and in January 2017 registered as a nonstock, nonprofit media organization.  We do not  accept funding from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.

Editorial staff

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo


Mindanao Institute of Journalism


Board of Directors

President & CEO: Jowel Canuday, D.Phil. (oxon.)
Vice President: Romer S. Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas, M.A.
Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, Ph.D.
Amalia B. Cabusao (Doc Can.)
Robert D. Timonera
Ellen P. Alinea