​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sarah Elago DID NOT rebut parents of student activists with this quote

A netizen on Aug.8 posted a misleading image that falsely attributed a comment on a student activist’s Facebook post to Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago.

The image, a statement card which bore a photo of Elago together with mothers of children supposedly recruited as activists-turned-fighters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), quoted Elago as saying:

“Ang inyong mga anak ay hindi niyo mga anak. Dumaan lang sila sa inyo ngunit hindi niyo sila pag-aari. Sila ang pag-asa ng bayan hindi ang mga katulad niyong duwag at mga tuta ni Duterte

(Your children are not yours. You gave birth to them but you do not own them. They are the hope of our country not like the cowards and lapdogs of Duterte).”

The false quote appears to be paraphrased from alleged comments, read by one of the parents who attended a Senate hearing on Aug. 7 that tackled the issue of missing students who were allegedly recruited by left-leaning organizations, to become activists.

Relissa Lucena, whose 18-year-old daughter Alicia ran away from home in March, shared during the hearing what she said were comments in the open letter posted by her child on Facebook. The comments were allegedly from Alicia’s “colleagues”:

“Ang inyong mga anak ay hindi niyo na mga anak. Sila ang mga anak na lalaki at babae na magnanais ng buhay sa sarili. Dumaan sila sa iyo ngunit hindi mula sa iyo. At kahit na makasama ka pa nila ay kabilang sila hindi sa iyo bagkus ay kasama sila sa isang lipunan

(Your children are not yours anymore. They are now men and women who will search for their own lives. You gave birth to them but they are not yours. Although they are still with you, they now belong to the society).”

She then read what she said was another response to a post another mother, Luisa Espina made:

Maaring mga magulang nga kayo pero tandaan niyo dumaan lang siya sa inyo. Hindi niyo siya pag-aari. Puwede niyo silang palakihin at mahalin dahil responsibilidad niyo iyon pero hindi puwedeng hulmahalin at piliting maging katulad niyo. Kung hindi niya na siya nakilala ngayon, ikaw misis, paniguradong hindi niya rin nakilala pa. Wala ka nang pinagkaiba sa mga militar sa pagsasalita mo. Nagpagamit ka na sa kanila. Tama ang sinabi ni (Jose) Rizal: “Kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. Kasi paanong ang mga matatandang hukluban niyo ang pag-asa kung nagpapagamit kayo sa mga militar na walang ibang ginawa kundi pumatay, sambahin si Duterte

(You may be their parents but remember you just bore them. You may have raised and loved them because it is your responsibility but you cannot mould them and force to be like you. If you cannot identify them anymore, you Missis, it is certain she cannot identify you either. You are no different from the military in the way you speak. You let them use you. [Jose] Rizal is right: The youth is the hope of our nation. That is why elderly people like you cannot be the hope for you allow yourselves to be used by the military, who do nothing but kill [and] worship [President Rodrigo] Duterte).”

Alicia, who joined the group Anakbayan, refuted in an Aug. 8 Facebook post her mother’s statement in the Senate hearing. She left home, she said, because she was placed under “house arrest” for nearly a month. She also asked her family to “stop cooperating with the military.”

Elago has already denied the fabricated quote. The Kabataan Party-list and Anakbayan have been summoned by the Department of Justice in connection with the missing student activist.

The fake quote card could have reached more than 2.2 million social media users. Top traffic generators of the erroneous post are the Enlightened PINOY page and public Facebook groups SARA DUTERTE FOR PRESIDENT 2022 ELECTIONS and DUTERTE PARA SA BAYAN!

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