​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bayan Muna rep DID NOT say Grade 11 Anakbayan recruit will earn from ‘extortion’

A Facebook (FB) post claiming that Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate told a student recruit of leftist organization Anakbayan that she will benefit from the organization’s “extortion” activities is a hoax.

FB page Huwag Tularan published its fake post on Aug. 15, where it claimed Zarate affirmed a statement made by Grade 11 student Alicia Lucena, who was earlier reported missing by her mother after joining the militant youth group.

The post carried a screengrab of The Philippine Star’s Aug. 14 ambush video interview with Lucena after a press conference at the House of Representatives, juxtaposed with the quote, “Ayaw kong maging investment ng parents ko (I don’t want to be an investment of my parents).” Below it was an October 2013 Davao Today photo of Zarate, with a statement on his left reading, “Tama! Mas malaki ang kikitain mo sa amin sa extortion (Right! You’ll earn more with us through extortion).”

There are no news reports nor official records of the lawmaker making such a statement. Kabataan Partylist’s FB Live feed of the Aug. 14 press conference of the Makabayan bloc in Congress, where both Zarate and Lucena were present, did not show Zarate saying such a thing either.

Also, Huwag Tularan’s quote on Lucena -- sourced from the Aug. 14 The Philippine Star ambush interview -- is not verbatim and lacks context. The 18-year-old said:

“Eighteen na ako, tapos mayroon na akong sapat na kaalaman na hindi… na parang yung mga sinasabi nila sa akin na parang obligasyon ko, responsibilidad ko na sumunod sa kanila dahil nag-invest sila sa akin ay ibalik ko sa kanila, parang sinasabi nila na investment lang ang anak. So ayoko pong maging investment lang dahil hawak ko po yung sarili kong buhay, may sarili akong mga desisyon at buhay ko ito eh.”

(I am 18 years old and I have enough knowledge and it's not like ...what they tell me that obeying them is my obligation or responsibility because they invested in me and I should “return their investment.” It’s like they’re saying that children are mere investments. So I don’t want to be just an investment because my life is mine, and I have my own decision because this is my life.)

Huwag Tularan posted the fake quote card a day after the Makabayan bloc presented Lucena to the media, belying claims that Anakbayan “kidnapped” the student. Lucena was in the news a week earlier after her mother aired grievances during an Aug. 7 Senate hearing on the alleged recruitment of minors by activist groups.

The hoax has been shared over 3,000 times, and has received over 400 reactions and almost 200 comments. Huwag Tularan, created in July 7, 2015, has changed its name on Facebook twice already. It was called More to LIFE and Banat Pa More before settling for its current name in 2016.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)


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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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