Claim: Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago was spotted on a mountain with “new recruits” to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
On June 12, Facebook page Catchmeifyoucan07 posted a photo of Elago talking to a crowd outdoors. The caption said, “MY IPAPALAPA NA NAMAN ANG SARA NATO SA KUMANDER GAWING SEX SLAVE ANG INOSENTENG KABATAAN. Yan si Sarah Elago na isang kongresista pero ginugugol nya ang maraming panahon hindi sa kongreso, kundi sa panghihikayat sa mga kabataan na sumapi sa komunistang grupo ng CPP/NPA. Patuloy nyang nilalason ang isipan ng mga kabataan hanggang sa masira ang kanilang kinabukasan!“
(Elago has another batch of innocent youth who will be made sex slaves for the commander. That’s Sarah Elago who is a congresswoman but spends a lot of time not in congress, but in persuading the youth to join the communist groups of CPP/NPA. She continues to poison the minds of the youth until their future is ruined!)
The post is still being circulated. As of writing, it has acquired 993 reactions, 955 comments, and 1,800 shares.
On June 18, Facebook page Bangon Bisayas and user Mark Laurence L Zalasar posted a graphic using the same photo of Elago, with the caption, “SARAH ELAGO Spotted! Sarah Elago, Kabataan Party List Rep namunbdok (sic) kasama ang mga bagong narekrut (Sarah Elago spotted! Sarah Elago, Kabataan Party List Rep went to the mountain with new recruits).” The posts contained hashtags against the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front.
The graphic also contained the text, “Sarah Elago, tama na ang mga pangloloko at panghihikayat sa mga kabataan para maging isang terorista (Sarah Elago, enough with the deceit and persuasion of children to be terrorists).”
These posts were spotted on social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle and on Facebook.
The facts: The caption in these posts misrepresent a photo that Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago herself posted from a hike for a cause event in March 2020. Rappler had previously fact checked another misrepresented photo of Elago from the same event.
The photos were taken during a hike organized by SheDecides Philippines and Trail AdvenTours. The hike was held on March 1 at Mount Binutasan, Tanay, Rizal to help adolescent girls affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Elago, who was one of the participants in this hike, posted the photo herself on Instagram on March 1 with the caption, “Today, She Decides, together with Trail Adventours, led ‘SheHikes, so SheDecides,’ a symbolic goal-setting campaign that seeks to provide menstrual and hygiene kits to adolescent girls affected by Taal Volcano eruption.”
Weeks after the event, Rappler spotted and fact-checked posts that falsely claimed that Elago attended the anniversary of the New People’s Army and which also misrepresented one photo that Elago herself posted from the hiking event as proof of the claim.
Bangon Bisayas and Mark Laurence L Zalasar also have a history of posting false claims. Earlier they posted a false quote attributed to Elago, saying children are not their parents’ property and threatening to destroy their future. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com
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