VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sarah Elago DID NOT tell parents she will ‘ruin the future’ of their children

Facebook (FB) page Bangon Bisayas and a netizen published on June 15 a fake graphic warning parents against the communist New People’s Army (NPA)’s recruitment of their children.

It featured a quote falsely attributed to KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago who alleged she will “ruin the future” of the kids.

A cursory search showed no official records or reports from any legitimate source of Elago making such a pronouncement. It was not in any of her social media posts.

Placed beside a photo of the legislator from an August 2019 UNTV report, the fabricated statement read: “Ang inyong mga anak ay hindi ninyo mga anak. Dumaan lang sila sa inyo ngunit hindi niyo sila pag-aari. SISIRAIN KO ANG KANILANG KINABUKASAN (Your children are not your children. They only come through you but they do not belong to you. I WILL DESTROY THEIR FUTURE).” Elago was described as an “NPA recruiter.”

The first two lines of the quote are a rephrased Filipino translation from the poem “On Children” in the book “The Prophet” by the renowned Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran:

“Your children are not your children… They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

It was translated to Filipino in the 1983 novel Dekada ‘70 by Filipino writer Lualhati Bautista, a snippet of which could be seen in an FB promotion of the book to a musical adaptation.

Last year, VERA Files Fact Check flagged and debunked a fake quote card of Elago carrying the same fabricated statement about children not being owned by their parents. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Sarah Elago DID NOT rebut parents of student activists with this quote)

Publisher carries doctored profile photo

An inspection of the profile of the netizen who published the spurious graphic showed that he misrepresented himself as a University of the Philippines (UP) student. Its display picture shows a man wearing a sablay, a symbolic cloth worn by UP graduates.

A Google Reverse Image Search revealed that the netizen behind the account used a UP alumnus’ photo. But upon closer look, a different man’s face was noticeably edited onto it.

Running the edited photo through InVID, an image verification tool, showed an irregular noise pattern in the area of the man’s face, characterized by a huge black space. An unedited photo would have shown white grains that outline the features in the man’s face; the lack of grain or “noise” in that area suggests it was altered.

The misleading posts containing the fake Elago quote came as the country awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill. Elago was among those who voted against the piece of legislation in the House of Representatives.

The two FB posts have received a combined 180 shares and over 130 reactions. Its top traffic generators are public group AFP PNP RETIREES ASSOCIATION OF TAGUIG CITY-UPPER BICUTAN and page Real Talk , discussion that matters.

Bangon Bisayas was created on Aug. 8, 2019.

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