FALSE: Sarah Elago quote calling for ‘People Power’

Rappler.com
Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago denies saying what was attributed to her and clarifies they don't oppose the enhanced community quarantine. The PNP says it will investigate whether their page posted the claim.

Claim: Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago said that the lockdown and curfew imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte are against human rights, and that they are now calling for People Power.

A graphic circulating on Facebook attributed the following quote to Elago: “Labag sa karapatang pantao ang lockdown at curfew na idineklara ni Pangulong Duterte. Kaya kami nananawagan ng malawakang People Power.”

(The lockdown and curfew declared by President Duterte are against human rights. That’s why we are calling for a large-scale People Power.)

The earliest posts of the claim attached a screenshot of the quote card allegedly posted by PNP Police Community Relations Group-PULISerbis, the official page of the Philippine National Police – Police Community Affairs and Development Group (PCADG). 

The screenshot of the page’s alleged post contained the following caption: “#SarahElago ng #Kabataan Partylist, labag daw sa Human Rights ang ECQ. Sige mauna ka mamatay (Sarah Elago of Kabataan Party-list says the ECQ is a violation of human rights. Alright, then be the first one to die.)” Facebook page Tipong Makabayan posted the quote card with the same caption. 

The post by the page PNP Police Community Relations Group-PULISerbis cannot be found anymore as of writing. Other pages that shared this claim include: Sentido Kumon, BUKAS ISIP, Enlightened PINOY, Tipong Makabayan, Agta Malansi, and Manilakbayad.   

The claim was sent to Rappler by a reader for verification. Posts containing the claim were also flagged by Facebook Claim Check, the platform’s tool for monitoring posts with potentially false information.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Elago said she never said  this and clarified that the Kabataan Party-list does not oppose the enhanced community quarantine. PNP PCADG Director Brigadier General Joselito Daniel said they will call the attention of their page administrators and investigate whether they posted the false claim. 

In a Facebook post, Elago denied the claim and called for an investigation into the perpetuation of the false quote.

Hindi po ito galing sa akin. Hindi po totoong sinabi ko ang nakalagay sa mga post na ito kaya huwag nang ipalaganap pa. Imbestigahan na po ito dapat ng National Bureau of Investigation NBI Philippines (sic) Anti-Cybercrime. Mariing kinukundena ng Kabataan Partylist ang paggawa at pagpapalaganap ng maling pahayag at fake news,” Elago said.

(This did not come from me. It is not true I said what is contained in these posts so don’t spread it any further. The National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Cybercrime Division should investigate this. The Kabataan Partylist strongly condemns the creation and perpetuation of false statements and fake news.)

Elago also clarified that the Kabataan Partylist was not against the enhanced community quarantine. “Hindi tinututulan ng Kabataan ang lockdown, ECQ dahil mahalaga ito upang mapabagal ang transmission ng virus at magkaroon ng oras para sa mga paghahanda upang ganap na labanan ang COVID-19,” she said.

(Kabataan does not oppose the lockdown or enhanced community quarantine because it is important in slowing down the transmission of the virus and in managing time to prepare the fight against COVID-19.)

In the past, Elago expressed apprehensions about lockdown measures before the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine was declared on March 16. On March 11, she posted the following text on Facebook: “Health workers, not cops and soldiers. Access to free check-up and testing, not lockdowns.”

The Makabayan bloc also released a statement after Duterte declared a Metro Manila lockdown, urging for more community-oriented actions instead of a “militarist and threat-based solution.” 

On April 4, Elago posted about the stance of Kabataan Partylist: “We are not against a lockdown to contain the spread of the virus; what we are against is a lockdown that arrests and persecutes the poor.”

Meanwhile, Daniel told Rappler that they will conduct the necessary investigation. “We will call the attention of our page administrators to further investigate on this. We are ready to make necessary corrective measures,” Daniel said.

PNP Police Community Relations Group – PULISerbis previously published a post warning the public against posting “fake news.”

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, creating, perpetuating, or spreading false information on the coronavirus crisis can be punished by two months in prison and/or up to P1 million in fines. (READ: Bayanihan Act’s sanction vs ‘false’ info the ‘most dangerous’)

While there is no law that punishes or defines fake news, police are going after people who allegedly post these on online platforms. As of April 7, 32 suspects have been arrested for “spreading fake news” on social media. They face charges for violating Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code which punishes any person who publishes false news that may “endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.”

Rappler previously fact-checked other posts concerning Elago, including false claims that she tested positive for coronavirus and that she was spotted at a mountain attending the anniversary of the New People’s Army. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

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