SENATORIAL CANDIDATE
34. HONTIVEROS, RISA
AKBAYAN

Risa Hontiveros, 56, is an incumbent senator who has served in Congress for more than 11 years. In that time, she authored several landmark laws on mental health, healthcare, women, children, and persons with disability.

She is also a main proponent of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill which has been stalled at the Senate level for years due to opposition from conservative lawmakers.

Hontiveros launched two failed bids for the Senate in 2010 and 2013 before she finally managed to clinch a seat in 2016 as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party-led Daang Matuwid coalition.

She previously served as Akbayan representative in the lower house from 2004 to 2010 and as a director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. from 2014 to 2015.

Before she was a legislator, Hontiveros worked as a neighborhood organizer, peace advocate and award-winning broadcast journalist. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 along with 1,000 other women for her work as a member of the Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front.

Hontiveros is campaigning on the platform "Healthy Buhay and Hanapbuhay," vowing to pass more laws that will elevate Filipinos' quality of life.

She is running under the Senate slate of Vice President Leni Robredo and has been endorsed by opposition coalition 1Sambayan.

She favors legalizing divorce, decriminalizing abortion, shifting to a federal system of government that is appropriate for the Philippines, requiring officials to disclose their wealth declarations to public, renewing ABS-CBN's franchise, penalizing political turncoats, and banning endo contractualization. She opposes reinstating the death penalty.

Platform and Policy
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The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any

Select a policy profile below to view more details
 
COVID-19 response
 
Health
 
Human rights; Welfare
 
Philippine sovereignty
Related Policy Proposal:
  1. Called on the government to "rethink" its militarized approach to the country's COVID-19 response
  2. Questioned the continued mandatory use of face shields despite a lack of scientific evidence showing their efficacy in preventing the spread of COVID-19
Previous Platform:
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
As a member of the Senate blue ribbon panel, Hontiveros is among the senators probing the government's anomalous deals with its favored pandemic supplier Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Related Policy Proposal:
  1. Proper implementation of the Reproductive Health Law and the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act to address the rapid rise in HIV cases in the Philippines
  2. Called out proposed budget cuts for public hospitals in the 2021 budget, urged a higher allocation for public health in general
Previous Platform:
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
  1. Principally authored and sponsored the following laws in the Senate:
    • Mental Health Act
    • Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act
    • An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
  2. Among the authors in the Senate:
    • Universal Health Care Act
    • Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act
  3. Launched the Health Pinas mobile clinic which offers non-coronavirus health services to impoverished communities across the country
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Related Policy Proposal:
  1. Filed an anti-elder abuse bill in the Senate in 2018
  2. Authored and principally sponsored an anti-teenage pregnancy bill passed by the Senate
  3. Led a Senate probe on the alleged bribery schemes at the Bureau of Immigration
  4. Led a Senate probe on the trafficking of Filipino domestic workers to Syria
Previous Platform:
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
  1. Principally authored and sponsored in the Senate
    • Safe Spaces Act
    • An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage
    • An Act Providing For Stronger Protection Against Rape and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
  2. Authored and principally sponsored in the Senate:
    • Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
    • 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law
  3. Among the authors of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the Senate
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Related Policy Proposal:
  1. Protecting Manila's sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea through diplomacy
  2. Stressed the need in April 2021 for ASEAN members to persuade China to agree to a consensus on the Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea - a legally binding agreement that has been delayed for years
Previous Platform:
Track Record / Accomplishment; Date:
  1. Called on China anew in February 2021 to pay for the damage it caused and the marine wealth it took from the West Philippine Sea which she said was equivalent to P800 billion at the time
  2. Castigated China and its claim of jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea in April 2021 after the regional power called out the Philippine Coast Guard for conducting maritime exercise in the area
  3. Among the senators in Novermber 2021 who decried the China Coast Guard's blocking off of a supply mission in the West Philippine Sea
Deviation from Previous Platform:
Major Accomplishments
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The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so


Public Office



Hontiveros filed nearly 250 bills during her first term as senator. Among the 17 laws that she authored are the Mental Health Act, the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Safe Spaces Act and the Universal Healthcare Act


Two laws she principally sponsored, R.A. No. 11148 and R.A. No. 11228, scale up nutrition intervention programs in the first 1,000 days of a child's life and mandate PhilHealth coverage for all persons with disability, respectively.


She was one of two members of the Senate to vote against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.


As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, Hontiveros led a legislative probe on alleged corruption in the Bureau of Immigration which led to the preventative suspension of several officials. The same investigation linked BI officials behind the bribery scheme, also known as the "pastillas" scam, to the outbound trafficking of Filipino women.


In response to the probe's findings, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed in 2020 that he dismissed the immigration officials tagged in the alleged bribery schemes. However, he actually allowed them to return to work once their preventive suspensions lapsed.


In the House of Representatives, Hontiveros filed 134 bills, six of which contributed to the passage of laws that include the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Law and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension.


Hontiveros has also played a big role in several other legislative investigations, including the probes on the killing of Kian de los Santos and the government's anomalous deals with its favored pandemic supplier Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.


Two cases have been filed against Hontiveros by allies of the Duterte administration in connection with the probes.


The first was filed in 2017 by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who claimed that Hontiveros wiretapped him by reading his text messages in a photo of him taken by media during a Senate hearing on Delos Santos, a 17-year-old killed by police during an anti-drug operation. In the text messages, Aguirre appeared to be urging Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras to expedite legal action against Hontiveros.


Another case was filed against Hontiveros by a Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. employee who claimed that Hontiveros bribed one of his colleagues to testify that the firm instructed employees to repackage substandard and expired medical-grade face shields.


However, the same testimony was confirmed by Pharmally officer Krizle Grace Mago shortly after a video recording of it was played at a Senate blue ribbon panel hearing. Mago even went so far as to say that she believed Pharmally was swindling the government by tampering with the face shields.


Both Mago and the witness presented by Hontiveros have since disavowed their own statements that were given under oath. Senators, including Hontiveros, have dismissed the Pharmally employees’ claims that they were pressured to give such testimonies. Mago reversed her own testimony after becoming unreachable to the Senate, which offered her protection following her startling admission, and resurfacing under the protective custody of the House of Representatives.


Senate President Vicente Sotto at the time emphasized that admissions under oath carry more weight than subsequent denials of the same. Hontiveros similarly noted that both testimonies are part of the Senate record regardless of attempts to discredit them.


Hontiveros and other opposition senators have condemned the cases filed against her as retaliatory moves from administration allies.

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Read More
For her work as a peace advocate
Among 1,000 women nominated worldwide
Position/Date
Nominated in 2005
Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front, member, 1998-1999; 2001-2004
Status
Awarded jointly to the International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed ElBaradei "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest way"
R.A. No. 10932 or An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on Aug. 15, 2017
R.A. No. 11166 or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on Jan. 14, 2019
R.A. No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on April 17, 2019
R.A. No. 11596 or An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof
Read More
Position/Date
Principal author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2020
Status
Approved by the president on Dec. 10, 2021
R. A. No. 11648 or An Act Providing For Stronger Protection Against Rape and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Read More
The historic law raises the age to determine statutory rape to 16 from the previous 12
Position/Date
Principal author in the Senate, 2021
Status
Approved by the president on Mar. 4, 2022

Private Sector


Before she was a legislator, Hontiveros worked as a neighborhood organizer, peace advocate and award-winning broadcast journalist.

Actions and/or Proceedings
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Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information


Pending Actions and/or Proceedings

Subject Matter Relevant Dates Potential Liability Status
Wiretapping case filed by former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

Aguirre claims that Hontiveros broke wiretapping laws when she called out Aguirr over text messages he was sending during a Senate hearing on the death of Kian de Los Santos. The text messages were seen by Hontiveros through photos taken of Aguirre by media during the hearing. In the messages, Aguirre appears to be urging former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras to expedite legal action against Hontiveros.
Case filed by Aguirre in 2017

Hontiveros indicted by the Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 46 in December 2021
P36,000 bail posted by Hontiveros on Dec. 28, 2021
Case filed by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. employee accusing Hontiveros of conspiring to commit sedition, subornation of perjury, offering false evidence and violating the norms of conduct of public officials

Vega claims that Hontiveros bribed his co-worker, Veejay Almira, to tell the Senate blue ribbonpanel under oath on Sept. 24, 2021, that Pharmally instructed employees to tamper with the expiry dates of medical-grade face shields
Hontiveros denied these allegations and presented evidence to reporters showing that the Pharmally employee who testified on face shields approached her office first and was thoroughly vetted before he was asked to record a statement under oath
Filed at the Office of the Ombudsman in November 2021

Resolved Actions and/or Proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information

Subject Matter Relevant Dates Potential Liability Status
Inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel and obstruction of justice

The CIDG filed complaints against Hontiveros, Vice President Leni Robredo, and 35 other persons linked to the Liberal Party over the viral “Bikoy” videos tagging President Duterte and his family in the illegal drug trade

All persons accused denied involvement, citing harassment by the government
Inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel and obstruction of justice charges filed on July 18, 2019 The Department of Justice in February 2020 junked the sedition raps against Vice President Robredo, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima and other Otso Diretso slate bets due to lack of probable cause
Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth
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Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.

Assets
P16.7 million
Liabilities
Net Worth
P16.7 million

*As of December 31, 2020

Campaign Details
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Key details about the candidate's campaign

Campaign Manager:

Alliances and Endorsements:

Running under the Senate slate of Vice President Leni Robredo, an independent candidate for the presidency

Party History:
Akbayan
2004-present
Major Donors
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Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources

There is no publicly available information on this matter at this time. Requested information from the candidate was not provided.
Major Advocacies
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The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so

 
Sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE) equality
 
Pro-divorce
 
Protections for women and children
Sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE) equality
Filed and sponsored the SOGIE Equality Bill in the 17th and 18th Congresses

Position/Date: Senator, ongoing

Status: Approved by the House of Representatives in 2017 but stalled at the plenary level in the Senate as of January 2022
Pro-divorce
Filed a Senate bill proposing the legalization of divorce

Position/Date: Senator, ongoing

Status: Pending at the committee level
Protections for women and children
Passed the following laws:
  1. 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law
  2. Safe Spaces Act
  3. An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage and Imposing Penalties for Violations Thereof
  4. An Act Providing For Stronger Protection Against Rape and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Position/Date: Senator, ongoing
Personal Details
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Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience

Name to appear on the ballot: HONTIVEROS, RISA
Full Name: Ana Theresia "Risa" Navarro Hontiveros Baraquel
Birthdate: Feb. 24, 1966 (56 years old on election day)
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Residence:
Religion:
Languages Spoken: Filipino; English
Parents:
  • Ramon Hontiveros, father
Siblings:
  • Pia Hontiveros, CNN Philippines chief correspondent
Marital Status: Widowed; Francisco Baraquel Jr. (died 2005)
Children:
  • Ianna Baraquel
  • Issa Baraquel
  • Kiko Baraquel
  • Sinta Baraquel
Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Ateneo de Manila University, 1987

Work Experience:

●Senator, Philippine Senate, 2016-present

●Member of the Board of Directors, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., 2014-2015

●Akbayan Representative, 13th Congress, 2004-2007

●Akbayan Representative, 14th Congress, 2007-2010

●Member, Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front, 1998-1999

●Member, Government Panel for Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front, 2001-2004

●Secretary-general, Coalition for Peace, 1988-992

●Community organizer, Foundation for Development Alternatives, 1987-988

Appendix
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Learn more about this candidate

Major Accomplishments

Other Legislative and Executive Accomplishments

R.A. No. 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
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Position/Date
Author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on Nov. 29, 2018
R.A. No. 11228 or the Magna Carta For Persons With Disability
Read More
Position/Date
Author and one of two principal sponsors in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on Feb. 22, 2019
R.A. No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act
Read More
Position/Date
Author in the Senate, 2018
Status
Approved by the president on April 17, 2019
R.A. No. 11223 or the Universal Healthcare Act
Read More
Position/Date
Author and co-sponsor in the Senate, 2018
Status
Approved by the president on Feb. 20, 2019
R.A. No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act
Read More
Position/Date
Author and principal sponsor in the Senate, 2017
Status
Approved by the president on June 20, 2018