Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed support for the terrorist Maute Group, calling them the "epitome of courage and resilience."
Several users posted a graphic attributing the following quote to Hontiveros: "What Maute Group are doing is not rebellion. I believe they are only doing what they think is right, this people has (sic) a belief, a conviction that pushed them to move forward."
"Maaring (sic) pagod na sila sa mga nangyayari sa lipunan (They may be tired of what is happening in society), at least they have the motivation. We should be inspired of what they are doing. They are the epitome of courage and resilience," the quote continued.
The graphic also contained Rappler's logo.
These posts were spotted on Facebook by Rappler's fact check team.
This claim has been debunked as early as 2017. Hontiveros did not make any statement in support of the Maute Group.
This claim was initially circulated in 2017 and was shared again in June 2020 by pages and users who appear to be supporting the anti-terrorism bill. Hontiveros and Senator Francis Pangilinan are the only senators who voted against the measure, warning of possible abuse.
In an interview on Get It Straight with Daniel Razon uploaded on June 6, 2017, Hontiveros said that the Maute Group's actions did not fall under the constitutional definitions of rebellion or invasion, which are the circumstances under which the President can place the country under martial law. Instead, she said, they are acts of terrorism. (READ: Questions you need to ask about martial law in Mindanao)
Hontiveros did not issue any statement in support of the Maute Group. She also urged the continuation of the military operations against the group.
Her staff also dismissed the claim as fake news on June 8, 2017. "The Maute group's siege in Marawi is an act of terrorism. Senator Risa Hontiveros condemns all acts of terror and is fervent in pursuing peace," their post read.
Hontiveros also issued a statement debunking the claim, saying: "The Maute group is a terrorist group. It is an enemy of peace and development, particularly the people of Mindanao. What they did to Marawi is a terrorist act that must be condemned by all."
In a Facebook post on June 8, 2017, Rappler labeled this statement as fake, adding that the use of its logo on the image is unauthorized.
Responding to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's inquiry on whether she was abetting rebellion, Hontiveros said, "[Purveyors] of fake news accuse me of siding with the Maute group because I didn’t automatically regard their terrorist action as rebellion. Magkalinawan tayo. Ang Maute Group ay mga terorista hindi rebelde (Let's be clear. The Maute Group are terrorists, not rebels)... The essence of rebellion is ideological. Terrorism is pure terror."
Rappler earlier debunked another false claim involving Hontiveros – a graphic that said she considers armed rebels "heroes of the land." – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com
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