Friday, March 9, 2018



We were having lunch while watching “Eat Bulaga”, the popular noontime variety show on cable GMA TV, when someone commented that, according to what he read on Facebook, two of the show’s hosts, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, were involved in the gang rape of a Filipino American actress named Pepsi Paloma back in 1982.

This news surprised me but three young Filipinos, all below 21 and recent immigrants, who were also watching the show with us, chimed in and said that they also knew of the Pepsi Paloma rape. I asked them how that could be when it occurred long before they were born. They said they learned of the rape from the song “Spolarium” sung by the Eraserheads, a popular Filipino rock band of the 1990s.

I was puzzled as I knew the Eraserheads band had stopped performing more than a decade ago so I asked them how they even heard of the song. The three looked at each other as if wondering why I was asking such a silly question when everybody knows that the Internet makes songs of the past readily available to the present.

I went online, googled the Spolarium by the Eraserheads, and watched the group perform the song on YouTube. These were the lyrics that the three kids referred to: “umiyak ang umaga, anong sinulat ni enteng at joey dyan, sa gintong salamin, di ko na mabasa pagkat merong nagbura ahhh...” (The morning cried, what did enteng and joey write in the golden mirror I couldn’t read because someone erased it). I also learned from the kids that university professors regularly discuss the song and its meaning in their classes.

According to the kids, “enteng” is Vic Sotto and “joey” is Joey de Leon and they wrote a confession to to the gang rape but it was erased, they said, by Vic’s older brother, Sen. Tito Sotto, who somehow convinced Pepsi Paloma to withdraw her rape charge against his brother and his cohorts.

When I googled “Pepsi Paloma”, I saw the video that had been downloaded on Facebook by perhaps as many as 66,000 viewers. The “eat bulaga - Pepsi Paloma story” reported through power point presentation the story of Delia Smith, the eldest daughter of Lydia Duenas, a native of Borac, Northern Samar, and an American letter carrier, Kenneth Smith, who deserted his family when the children were still young. Because of her daughter’s good looks, her mother brought her to the attention of a manager who starred her in a soft porn movie called Brown Emmanuelle in 1981.

A year later, Pepsi Paloma reported to the police that she had been drugged by the three comedian hosts of Eat Bulaga - Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon and Richie D’Horsey (Richie Reyes) - who then took turns raping her.

Pepsi’s mother sought the legal assistance of Sen. Rene Cayetano (the father of Sen. Pia Cayetano and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano) to serve as the private prosecutor of the case which made the headlines of the major newspapers. If convicted of the rape charge, the three comedians faced the death penalty, a sentence that was meted out previously on June 26, 1967, to the four men convicted of raping movie star Maggie dela Riva. Three of the dela Riva rapists were executed in 1972 on live TV while the fourth escaped the electric chair by dying in prison.

To prevent the same fate from happening to his brother, Sen. Tito Sotto, went to see Pepsi Paloma. According to her account of this visit, Pepsi said that Sen. Sotto “coerced” her into signing an “Affidavit of Desistance” dropping the rape complaint. But how could that affidavit be legal when she was only 14 when she signed it and without the presence of her attorney?

In her November 3, 2012 column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rina Jimenez David reported that: “Paloma eventually dropped the charges after she was allegedly visited by one of the trio who said he had only talked with her, but only after placing a pistol on the table in front of her.”

As a result of this signed affidavit, no criminal charges were filed against the three comedians even after they made a public apology to Pepsi Paloma for raping her when she was only 14.

Three years after her rape, on May 31, 1985, Pepsi was found dead in her apartment with a rope around her neck. The police concluded that it was a suicide caused by monetary problems, a motive disputed by her manager, Babette Corcuerra, who said that Pepsi was financially secure and was looking forward to acting in three movies. The suspicion persists that she was murdered barely a year before she was set to celebrate her 18th birthday.

“Eat Bulaga” is now entering its 35th year as the longest-running noontime variety program on air in the history of television making millionaires of its comedic stars. Sen. Tito Sotto is still in the Philippine Senate serving as the proud champion of the Roman Catholic Church in his staunch opposition to the Reproductive Health Act and to all forms of contraception.

Pepsi Paloma would have celebrated her 47th birthday year


"dumilim ang paligid" gabi noon
"may tumawag sa pangalan ko" niyaya nila si pepsi paloma lumabas
"labing isang palapag" 11th floor
"tinanong kung ok lang ako" -tinanong kung ok lang ba maginuman sila"
"sabay abot ng baso may naghihintay" pinainum siya ng alak na may drugs
"at bakit ba, pag nagsawa na ako biglang ayoko na" pinagpasa pasahan siya

"at ngayon, di pa rin alam kung ba't tayo nandito" nagiisip sila ng paraan kung pano malulusutan ang kaso
"pde bang itigil mo na, ang pag ikot ng mundo" patahimikin si pepsi paloma
"lumiwanag ang buwan, san juan di ko na nasasakyan" natahimik na si pepsi at di na sila pumupunta sa san juan kasi dun naganap ang pangrrape
"ang lahat ng bagay ay gumuguhit na lang sa king lalamunan" medyo nakahinga na sila ng maluwag

"ewan mo at ewan natin, sino may pakana" nagtuturuan na sila dahil nabuhay ang kaso
"at bakit ba tumilapon ang gintong alak diyan sa paligid mo" binayaran ang kaso.

"umiyak ang umaga, anong sinulat ni enteng at joey diyan" nagpublic apology sila
"sa gintong salamin di ko na mabasa pag kat meron nagbura" inareglo ni tito sotto para matapos na ang kaso.


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