Hubris: The Impunity of Vicente Sotto III, Mula Aparri Hanggang Jolo
By N. Mark Castro
Here are some of the issues that will forever cloud the integrity of Vicento Sotto III, Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, otherwise popularly known as Tito Sotto, and one of the comedic triumvirate Tito, Vic, and Joey in Philippine entertainment.
- The Rape of Pepsi Paloma
In brief, what it says was that starlet Pepsi Paloma was referred to the famous Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA, under the arrangements of then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile (now a senator and colleague of Tito Sotto) from whom she asked for assistance. She alleged that she was raped by her TV co-hosts Joey de Leon, Richie (alias Richie d’Horsey), and Vic Sotto. According to this report from Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), the late former Senator Rene Cayetano (then a senior partner at the ACCRA Law Firm) was to handle the case. Before it could take off, however, Pepsi Paloma briefly disappeared and came back to settle the case.
Nang pumutok ang isyu at nalaman na ikinasa na ang kaso sa piskalya sa Quezon City ay biglang naglaho ang nasabing starlet na si Pepsi Paloma ngunit nabawi naman agad ito ng mga tauhan ni Col. Abadilla at Capt. Panfilo Lacson(na ngayon ay isang senador )sa kamay nina Ben Ulo na kilalang hoodlum noong panahong yun. Lalong nadiin sa kaso ang mga Sotto ng aminin ni Ben Ulo na tauhan sya ng mga Castello na may relasyon sa mga Sotto.
When news broke out that the rape case was filed in Quezon City, Pepsi Paloma “disappeared” (read: kidnapped) but was quickly recovered (read: rescued) by Capt. Abadilla and Capt. Lacson (Panfilo Lacson, currently a senator and colleague of Tito Sotto as well) from the hands of a notorious gangster named Ben Ulo (whose life was likewise featured in a film). The case strengthened further when Ben Ulo admitted that he was under the employ of the Castellos who, in turn, had relationships with the Sotto family.
According to Pepsi Paloma’s account, she was being forced to sign an “Affidavit of Desistance,” and the person pushing her to sign the papers was none other than Vicento Sotto III (otherwise known as Tito Sotto).
Reports have it that she was paid a measly sum of Php 300,000 (a little over USD 6,000) … and a few months later, Pepsi Paloma reportedly hung herself which, to this day, remains a mystery as well. Speculations arose that Paloma spiraled into deep depression, especially when her alleged rapists continued to lord it over in Philippine entertainment while she was considered an outcast.
But what has become evident in the entire incident was how such power and influence could heighten a person’s ego, and how little it takes to turn it into hubris when you continue to receive accolades as one of the highest grossing entertainers in the country, with full access to media, while serving your term as a public servant or, in his case, a public master.
- The Ban on the song Alapaap (Cloud)
Using his senatorial powers, he tried to censor several local and foreign rock bands (Eraserheads, Yano, Slayer, etc.) due to what he described as disturbing lyrics. Remember the memorable Eraserheads song Alapaap? Sotto tried to read between the lines of the song’s lyrics and decided that it was about a cracked-up junkie with notions of flight due to a meth high. But whether or not Sotto’s poetic intrusions are true, the youth back then were not convinced by the song’s popularity, nay, lyrics to visit the nearest underground pharmacy. Actually, no song from hell ever convinced anyone to steal his dad’s gun and fire at his physics teacher.
This, from a senator in whose entertainment lifetime has been filled with rips from other musicians, oft unlicensed, and whose notorious 70s cassette tapes have been filled with diatribes in demeaning women.
And yet, there he was, with his sudden infallibility as the safeguard of the youth’s interest, dictating what should and should not be.
And to add serious injury to an ironic twist, Tito Sotto’s popular noontime show celebrated a tribute to Pinoy Rock / Alternative Music. This was attended, emceed, and sung by himself.
The object of contention is a series of news videos aired by CNN featuring the Filipino native dish pagpag which counts as its main ingredients food scraps obtained from garbage cans.
Sotto said it cannot be helped but to feel that the country has been “stabbed in the back,” considering that the government poured in its resources on the cable news channel to uplift its image, only to be slapped in return by damaging stories on poverty in the country.
“We had to place ads in CNN and then that negative feature comes out? Why didnt CNN feature the fishermen who use their catch to feed their families? Why use the leftover food that is being highlighted? There was a bad intention. The ads should be pulled out of CNN.
Clearly, one can see how delusional the entertainment senator was, for his inability to distinguish between ad placements and news. He’s of the opinion that since he’s paying CNN, in behalf of the country, that their news reports should highlight the water-colored portrait of the country.
- The Plagiarism of Sotto
To make matters worse, instead of apologizing and facing the consequences, he simply belittled Sarah Pope “as just a blogger.” His senate chief of staff, lawyer Hector Villacorta, did not help either, saying, among others, “but if you wish that you also be credited with the contents of the book, let this be your affirmation. i can do it and by this message, i am doing it. hope it satisfies you. but if it does not, what would you want us to do? what have we done to deserve your incriminating words,” said Villacorta.”
And it does not stop there, it turns out that his 2nd speech, and as of this writing, 3rd and succeeding speeches were also lifted from other sources with proper attributions. He was also flippant about that and plans to use another privilege speech to counter the online criticisms he has received, as well as confronting the damaging issues raised by Sarah Pope on his plagiarism.
I said it earlier and I say it again:
Tito Sotto has simply shown his propensity for displaying his new-found extremist Christian views in his attempt to kill the RH Bill. It’s highly ironic that his plagiarized speech was from a woman named Pope.
Pope vs Sotto.
That alone should be the headline at the Philippine Senate.
And may all these weigh in on you as you vote in the next elections, to hear what he’s done, to see what he is, as his TV show is broadcast “Mula Aparri Hanggang Jolo.”