Eat Bulaga! "Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon, Richie D’ Horsie" (lost live TV apology; existence unconfirmed; 1982)
In 1982, actress Pepsi Paloma was involved in a scandal when she accused comedians Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon, and Richie D'Horsie of rape. The scandal made headlines in the months of September and October, and eventually, the trio made a public apology in the October 13, 1982 edition of People's Journal, and on live TV.
Born as Delia Dueñas Smith, she is the daughter of Lydia Dueñas and Kenneth Smith who abandoned them when they are still young. The young Delia met talent scout Tita Ester and introduced her to Rey dela Cruz who is also known for his success in the showbiz careers of Rio Locsin and Myrna Castillo. She made her debut in Celso Ad Castillo's Brown Emanuelle and earned notoriety for being nude at the age of 14. She was given the stage name Pepsi Paloma and became one of the members of the so-called "softdrink beauties" along with Coca Nicolas and Sarsi Emmanuelle.
Vic Sotto, Joey De Leon, Richie D' Horsie
In 1976, the Sotto brothers were invited by Joey De Leon on GMA Network's Discorama, with Tito and Vic only accepting the invitation. They became the trio "Tito, Vic, and Joey" also known as TVJ. The trio was invited on Student Canteen and later on, starred on the comedy show Iskul Bukol which catapulted their nationwide fame. In 1979, the trio began hosting RPN-9's Eat Bulaga!. Richie D'Horsie was also a sidekick to Tito and Vic and a part of Discorama, Iskul Bukol, and Eat Bulaga!.
In June 1982, Paloma and her fellow actress Guada Garin were guests in Iskul Bukol. Paloma claimed that after the taping, the trio ripped their blouses open and took turns kissing her. The incident happened at Broadcast City where IBC 13's studios were located. Later that evening, the two were brought to Room 210 of Sulo Hotel. Paloma reported to the authorities that they were allegedly drugged and raped. As the scandal made headlines, Rey dela Cruz filed a complaint with then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile.
On September 29th, 1982, Joey de Leon and Vic Sotto along with Tito Sotto told their own side of the story during an interview in the Who Magazine. According to them, it’s the two women who came forward to them and requested souvenir photos of the boys kissing them. Tito was quick to deny Vic’s involvement as he was too “frail and skinny” to sexually violate them. Joey de Leon, on the other hand, made fun of the controversy, wearing a “Coke is it” T-shirt as a reference to Pepsi Paloma and asking photographs while in a middle of a hearing at the Quezon City Fiscal’s office.
Pepsi, however, later disappeared but was tracked down and rescued from Bienvenido “Ben Ulo” Mendoza, a known associate of the Castelos and Sottos. Pepsi then reported that Tito Sotto visited her and “coerced” her (by reportedly placing a pistol on the table in front of her) into signing an “affidavit of desistance” for her to not press the rape charges against the trio. In return, the trio made a public apology in the October 13, 1982 edition of the People’s Journal.
“We hope that you will not allow the error we have committed against you to stand as a stumbling block to that future which we all look forward to. We, therefore, ask you to find it in your heart to pardon us for the wrong which we have done against you.”
Paloma didn’t pursue her complaint against the trio. During this time, she allegedly had an abortion and became addicted to drugs, and left her manager. She decided to return in 1983 and starred in the movie “The Victim.”
Paloma was later found dead in her apartment on May 31, 1985, in an apparent suicide by hanging. A diary, consisting of reasons for her suicide was found, however, the diary’s legitimacy was questioned. The mystery of the case was allegedly immortalized by the song “Spoliarium” sung by Eraserheads and urban legends/conspiracy theories appeared about the case.
The Live Apology & Availability
Along with the apology in People’s Journal, it was also reported that the trio issued a public apology on live TV. The trio said to have asked for Paloma’s forgiveness on air and went down on their knees during their show “Eat Bulaga!”
Info about this alleged live apology is insufficient and as so, it is hard to tell if all the available and vague information is accurate. The now-deleted Inquirer post mentioned that the apology aired on air during “Eat Bulaga!”. The alleged date of this apology is also unknown (with others estimating that it took place on October 1982) and even the educational site Filipiknow states that there is no record of the apology.
For the fact that the found earliest full surviving episode of Eat Bulaga was from August 7, 1982, it is unknown if TAPE has this specific episode in its archives if it does exist. Some even speculate that the clip can or might be destroyed by Tito Sotto’s influence on the show. However, some search efforts for the clip were made.
- Eat Bulaga! (partially found Filipino noontime variety show; 1979-present)
- Eat Bulaga! Silver Special (partially lost TV special of the show’s 25th anniversary celebration; 2004)
- The Life and Curious Death of Pepsi Paloma Retrieved 20 Mar '23
- This 1982 Interview Gives Tito Sotto & Joey de Leon's Account of the Pepsi Paloma Rape Case Retrieved 20 Mar '23
- The rape of Pepsi Paloma (archived Inquirer page) Retrieved 20 Mar '23
- Story behind Pepsi Paloma’s Death: a suicide or a crime? Retrieved 20 Mar '23
- Reddit post about the live apology. Retrieved 20 Mar '23
- Can anyone find a copy of Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon's public apology on Eat Bulaga regarding the Pepsi Paloma rape case? Reddit post. Retrieved 20 Mar '23