FALSE: Sarah Elago’s ‘response’ to parents of student activists
Claim: Kabataan party-list representative Sarah Elago “responded” to the parents of student activists who are still minors, following the Senate probe into the disappearance of senior high school students allegedly recruited by leftist group Anakbayan.
On August 8, a photo started circulating on Facebook which stitched a portrait of Elago, a quotation attributed to her, and a photo of 3 crying parents during a Senate hearing held on August 7. It also included the logos of Kabataan, Anakbayan, and League of Filipino Students.
The text read: “Ang inyong mga anak ay hindi niyo mga anak. Dumaan lang sila sa inyo ngunit hindi niyo sila pag-aari. Sila ang pag-asa ng bayan hindi ang mga katulad niyong duwag at mga tuta ni Duterte.”
(Your children are not your children. They come through you but they do not belong to you. They are the hope of the nation, unlike you who are cowards and are lapdogs of Duterte.)
Facebook Claim Check, the social media network’s tool that detects potentially dubious content shared across the platform, flagged this post from the Enlightened PINOY page. A reader also emailed Rappler a version of the claim for fact-checking.
Enlightened PINOY captioned its post: “Sagot ng Kabataan partylist sa mga magulang na nawalan ng anak matapos ma-recruit bilang aktibista at kalaunan ay magiging teroristang NPA (Kabataan party-list's response to the parents who lost their children after being recruited to become activists, who will eventually become terrorists) #EndCPPNPANDF #NPAsalot #OustKabataanPartylist #dontbedeceived”.
Rappler traced the original photo to Facebook user Bogart Santos, whom Enlightened PINOY also credited in its post. Santos shared the photo with the exact same caption earlier on August 8.
Using CrowdTangle, Rappler found several other users, pages, and groups that shared the photo made by Santos. We spotted 7 Facebook users, 3 groups, and 4 pages that reposted Santos’ photo.
As of writing, the combined Facebook engagement from these accounts reached over 18,470 shares, 10,970 reactions, and 7,000 comments. These are the pages and groups that spread the claim:
- Enlightened PINOY
- Free Gen. Jovito Palparan
- Bayan Ko Ph
- Burgis Ng Tondo (used a different image but carried the same quotation)
- REAL PHILIPPINE HISTORY
- WE SUPPORT PDU30 ADMINISTRATION and WE SUPPORT BONGBONG MARCOS
- SENATOR CHRISTOPHER BONG GO MOVEMENT IN JAPAN
The facts: The quotation included in the photos that circulated on social media did not come from Sarah Elago. It is similar to the first paragraph of Kahlil Gibran’s poem “On Children” from his book The Prophet, which reads:
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you."
On August 9, Kabataan party-list denied the claim through its official Twitter account. Elago tweeted on her official account later that day to call for the takedown of the posts that wrongly quoted her.
FAKE NEWS ALERT:
QUOTE not mine nor from Kabataan! Enlightened Pinoy, Bayan Ko Ph, among other trollish FB pages, have launched this fake news attack yet again. Please help us report these pages! pic.twitter.com/MGmt9CxYoH
FAKE NEWS ALERT:
Rappler reached out to Santos to ask for the source of his post, but he hasn’t replied to our inquiries. We also couldn’t find the quoted lines in any of Elago’s recent interviews and statements from news reports.
On August 7, the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs held a hearing to investigate leftist groups’ alleged recruitment of minors in universities. Elago did not attend the meeting because of prior commitments and the short notice, which Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Major Gen Antonio Parlade Jr called a “sloppy excuse.”
During the hearing, it was revealed that the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) filed kidnapping charges against top officials of Anakbayan on August 1, after a 17-year-old allegedly went missing after joining the group.
Elago released a statement addressing the issue on August 10, but it did not reflect the quoted remarks in the photos. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com
Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.
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