Facebook page Tambayan Ni BERTO Page posted the photo on October 16, showing De Lima in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace.
At the bottom of the image, the text read: “Breaking News: Senator De Lima, sinugod sa ospital (rushed to the hospital).” At the upper-left corner of the photo was a red text saying, “LIVE.” At the lower-left corner, it was timestamped 3:45 pm.
As of writing, the post got over 1,300 reactions, 83 shares, and 930 comments. A reader emailed Rappler the link to the post for fact checking.
The facts: The photo was manipulated by superimposing Senator De Lima’s face over former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s body.
Using reverse image search, we found that the original photo was taken by Rappler photographer Ben Nabong in October 2015, when Arroyo arrived at the St Luke’s Medical Center for a check-up.
De Lima’s camp also confirmed that the senator was not rushed to the hospital on October 16. “My health is in perfect shape and this edited photo was obviously made by paid trolls hell-bent to ruin, make fun of and discredit me,” said De Lima in a press release on October 18.
On February 24, 2017, De Lima was arrested over drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice. She was granted a one-day medical furlough to undergo a CT scan at the Philippine Heart Center in March 2018.
“In fact, when I was granted a one-day medical furlough last year, I made sure to inform everyone about my condition and even reminded the public that there was nothing to worry about me. As a public servant, I have always been transparent,” the senator added. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com