FACT CHECK: No, these senators did not file bill to end '13th month' bonuses

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 18 2018 04:57 PM

Multiple posts, which have been shared thousands of times since they first appeared on Facebook December 11, claim two Philippine opposition senators have proposed legislation to abolish “13th month” end-of-year bonuses. 

The Senate’s online archives showed no such bill was filed and representatives of both senators said the claim was false.

The Facebook posts, for example this one and this one, say the purported bill was filed by Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

Here is a screenshot of one of the posts:

The photo shows Hontiveros on the left and Pangilinan on the right.

The post, when translated to English, says: “These two are really stupid as all voters want to receive 13th month pay as part of the reward from the companies or offices they work for. Some people even have a 14-16 month pay at the end of the year and these will just be removed. LP really adds burden to the country.”

LP refers to the Liberal Party, the main opposition party in the Philippines.

Pangilinan is the party’s president, while Hontiveros is a member of one of its allies, the Akbayan political party.

Hontiveros won her first Senate term in 2016 and Pangilinan was elected again, having stepped down in 2013 after serving the maximum permitted two consecutive terms as senator.

A search of the Senate’s online archives shows no bill has been filed in the 17th congress to abolish 13th month pay.

Here is a screenshot of the search results:

A spokeswoman for Hontiveros, Lui Belmonte, told AFP on Facebook messenger: “Nope… no such bill filed.”

When asked about the claims in the Facebook posts, Julie Laconico Tancio, a spokeswoman for Pangilinan, told AFP by text message: “not true”.

An online search also revealed the false Facebook posts had the same headline and picture as an entry published December 9 on the satirical website Adobo Chronicles.

The false claim about Hontiveros and Pangilinan appeared on Facebook on December 11.

The false claim has been shared by multiple Facebook groups that support Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and have more than 300,000 followers, according to data from CrowdTangle.

Hontiveros and Pangilinan are critics of Duterte.