Fact checks on public officials

FALSE: Photo of Sarah Elago wearing NPA uniform

FALSE: Photo of Sarah Elago wearing NPA uniform
The photo is manipulated. The guerrilla in the photo is not Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago.

A photo shows Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago wearing a uniform of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The photo was shown in a video posted in 2018, which had the logo of “The Northern Pulse.” It argued that Elago aims to overthrow the current administration. This video was posted by at least 4 other pages and accounts in 2018, and was being shared again in July 2020.

Isa siya sa mga galamay at suportado ng founder ng mga Teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF na si Jose Maria Sison,” read one frame of the video. (She is one of the tentacles and one of those supported by the founder of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF [National Democratic Front], Jose Maria Sison.)

One segment of the video features the photo of Elago in an NPA uniform.

It is accompanied by text that reads, “Panawagan sa mga magulang… ang mga matatamis niyang salita ay isang huwad lamang upang manlinlang at para sumali ang inyong mga anak sa pagkilos upang maging aktibo sa kanilang pakikibaka laban sa pamahalaan. Isa lamang itong taktika ng mga Teroristang NPA upang makapanghikatyat (sic) at umanib sa kanilang grupo. Kung kaya’t huwag magpalinlang!”

(A call to parents… Her sweet words are just a lie to fool your children and make them join the movement to be active in their struggle against the government. This is only one of the terrorist NPA’s tactics to persuade [people] to join their group. So don’t be fooled!)

This claim was spotted by Rappler’s fact check team via social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

Rating: FALSE
The facts:

This photo is manipulated. The guerrilla shown in the photo is not Elago.

A reverse image search showed that the original photo was published in an Associated Press report. The woman in the photo is not Elago, but a 24-year-old NPA guerrilla with the nom de guerre “Comrade Katryn.” The photo was taken on November 23, 2016 by Aaron Favila.

The report made no mention of Elago. No other reports show that Elago ever wore such a uniform.

The youth representative is often targeted by disinformation on social media. Rappler has debunked multiple manipulated and out-of-context photos that were used to link Elago to the CPP-NPA. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.