~ Protesters will greet the entire cast of the Philippine noontime show “Eat Bulaga” in downtown Toronto with placards denouncing the gang-rape of 14-year-old Pepsi Paloma by Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon and Richie d’Horsie alias Richie Reyes many years ago. “Eat Bulaga” will have a live performance on April 12 at Sony Centre in downtown. Organizers expect approval by Toronto Police of their application for a permit to hold the picket.
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TORONTO – Concerned members of the Filipino community here are up in arms against two popular television personalities in the Philippines accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old starlet who later on allegedly committed suicide many years ago.
A protest picket was being planned at Sony Centre in downtown Toronto where the entire cast of the noontime program called “Eat Bulaga” will perform on the afternoon of Saturday, April 12.
Tickets for the live performance are being sold at hefty prices ranging from $68 to $178. The name of one of the producers of the show in Toronto, Great Smile Denture Group, has been covered in yellow tape in posters displayed in some Filipino establishments. (See attached photo).
Organizers have already informed Toronto police of the plan and were expecting approval of a permit to rally.
Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon are among the three Eat Bulaga entertainers accused of raping a frail, 14-year-old starlet named Pepsi Paloma. The third person, Richie d’ Horsie alias Richie Reyes, is no longer with Eat Bulaga.
“They’re sex predators,” said a local community activist, one of the spearheads of the protest. (Video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FLfYCfxNdc&list=UUjYsgGZZAP7lpqJczW4z47g).
The trio had apologized for their wrongdoing, although they did not directly admit raping the budding starlet at a suburban Manila hotel 32 years ago. The victim committed suicide three years after the sexual assault, according to the police, a claim many did not believe.
“Pepsi Paloma was more likely murdered,” a long-time Toronto resident stated, apparently to make sure she would not recant her statement of desistance forced on her by Tito Sotto, currently a Philippine senator and older brother of Vic Sotto who’s also coming for the Toronto performance.
The Philippines was still under martial law at that time in 1982 and rape carried a penalty of death by electrocution. Tito Sotto’s settlement with the victim had effectively freed the three rapists from being jailed, sentenced and electrocuted.
The Sotto brothers and De Leon have been the mainstays of the longest-running variety show on Philippine television. One of their current co-hosts is a comedian named Wally Bayola.
Bayola, a 41-year-old father of five, recently figured in a steamy sex video with one of the show’s young dancers, adding fuel to the controversy that now threatens to impact the Toronto showing. The sex video continues to go viral in the internet, including in one pornographic website. (Video link available upon request by email, on the understanding that it’s for information only and not intended to promote either the video contents or the site).
Pepsi Paloma, who was born Delia Smith to a Filipino mother and an American father, had identified Sotto, de Leon and Reyes as the ones who had gang-raped her at Sulo Hotel in 1982. (Full story at: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/100369/was-pepsi-paloma-murdered).
Tito Sotto, now a Philippine senator, had reportedly coerced Pepsi Paloma to drop the case, which she did, in exchange for an apology. In addition, she was given 300,000 pesos (about $6,000).
On May 31, 1985, Pepsi Paloma was dead. Police authorities promptly declared that she committed suicide because of depression and financial problems – an allegation denied by her close friends and relatives.
Vic Sotto, 59, had been in and out of relationships with two women co-hosts of Eat Bulaga, and another who became his wife, during the year the gang-rape took place. He is presently linked with one of the show’s dancers, 24-year-old Pauleen Luna. Luna is also coming with the group.