VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB pages revive FALSE Elago quote card addressing parents

At least three Facebook (FB) pages—The Brave Filipinos, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines, and Support for Chief Justice Renato Corona—revived an old, false claim about children attributed to Kabataan Party-list Rep.Sarah Elago, whom they spuriously described as a “youth recruiter” of the New People’s Army (NPA).

They quoted Elago as telling parents this: “Ang inyong mga anak ay hindi ninyo mga anak. Dumaan lang sila sa inyo ngunit hindi niyo sila pag-aari (Your children are not yours. They came through you but they do not belong to you).”

The lawmaker never said this. The statement is in fact a rough Filipino translation of some lines from “On Children,” a poem by Lebanese-American author Kahlil Gibran published in the 1923 book The Prophet.

Elago herself refuted the quote card’s claim in a Sep. 8 tweet, where she referred to it as a “fabricated statement.”

This is not the first time the quote was falsely credited to the legislator. VERA Files Fact Check debunked similar posts in two instances, in August 2019 and just last June 25.

The untrue posts used a photo of Elago she uploaded on her personal FB account in May 2016. It was manipulated to include three flags of leftist groups, one belonging to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

A search through CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring tool, reveals that the posts falsely attributing Gibran’s words to Elago surfaced on Sept. 7, the same day Elago condemned President Rodrigo Duterte’s pardoning of an American Marine who killed a transgender Filipino woman in 2014.

It continued to be republished this October, as the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed a petition filed by a youth activist’s parents against Elago, several Anakbayan members and a human rights lawyer for the alleged disappearance of their daughter. The SC ruled that the 19-year-old activist has the right to make independent choices.

The three false posts flagged by VERA Files Fact Check collectively received over 980 reactions, 600 comments, and 760 shares from netizens.

The Brave Filipinos was created just last May 1, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines in August 2018, and Support for Chief Justice Renato Corona in December 2011.

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