Claim: Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago tested positive for coronavirus.
Multiple posts on Facebook made this claim, accompanied by a graphic of Elago with the words: “Breaking news: Sarah Elago, Rep. Kabataan Party-list, COVID-19 positive.”
Facebook user Ka Onyok was the first to use this graphic, captioning it with “‘Yan mga kababayan eto na po pinaka-aantay natin, confirmed po positive sa COVID-19. Papayagan niyo pa ba mga anak niyo lumapit dito sa walang kwentang taong eto? (Here’s what we have been waiting for my fellowmen, [she] confirmed positive for COVID-19. Will you allow your children to get near this worthless person?)”
Other posts with the same graphic had the caption, “Rally pa more (That’s what you get for joining rallies.)”
Posts containing this claim were flagged by Facebook Claim Check, a tool that detects posts with potentially false information. The claim was also emailed by a reader to Rappler for verification.
The facts: Elago denied that she tested positive for the virus, saying she did not experience any symptoms after self-quarantine and thus had no reason to get tested.
In a Facebook post, Elago said, “Walang katotohanan ang kumakalat na pahayag na ako ay positibo sa COVID-19 (There is no truth to the claim that I have tested positive for COVID-19).”
Her post was accompanied by a video where she explained her situation. “Nang matapos ko ang mandatory self-quarantine, wala naman po akong sintomas. Kaya sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang guidelines, wala pong dahilan upang ako ay magpa-test,” she said. (READ: When should you get tested for coronavirus?)
(When I finished the mandatory self-quarantine, I did not experience any symptoms. Hence, under the current guidelines, there is no reason for me to get tested.)
“Tuloy po ang ating trabaho, tuloy ang Tulong Kabataan, at tuloy-tuloy din po ang ating panawagan para sa mass testing. Unahin ang mga PUIs, ang mga PUMs, at gayundin ang ating mga health frontliners, at sa mga komunidad na mayroon nang confirmed cases ng COVID-19,” she added.
(Our work continues, Tulong Kabataan continues, and our call for mass testing also continues. Prioritize the patients under investigation, persons under monitoring, our health frontliners, and communities with confirmed cases of COVID-19.)
Rappler also reached out to Ka Onyok’s page to ask for its source, but it did not respond. The page was deactivated the next day.
As of Tuesday, April 7, the country had 3,764 coronavirus cases, with 177 deaths and 84 recoveries. – Loreben Tuquero/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.