Senate President Vicente Sotto III has asked online news site Inquirer.net to pull out articles tagging him in the controversial rape case of sexy actress Pepsi Paloma in 1982.
In a letter dated May 29, 2018, Senator Sotto wrote to Inquirer President Paolo Prieto asking them to remove “The rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma murdered?” ━ both written by United States-based columnist Rodel Rodis and published in March 2014.
Sotto has ‘requested’ the Philippine Daily Inquirer to remove from its website all the articles written about him (“The Rape of Pepsi Paloma” and “Was Pepsi Paloma Murdered?”). “If the Inquirer agrees to his requests, a dangerous precedent will be set. Duterte will demand that my articles denouncing him should also be removed by the Inquirer. Jinggoy Estrada, Bongbong Marcos, even China will also send their demand letters to Inquirer” ━ columnist Rodis who is also an American-based lawyer wrote.
Sotto also asked the Inquirer to take down a March 2016 news article on Sotto’s denial that he used his political affiliation to influence the court decision on the rape case.
The Pepsi Paloma Rape Story
Although it happened three decades ago, the tale of Paloma continues to get a good amount of attention, especially after the Eraserheads supposedly made her infamous rape at the hands of three well-known comedians the subject of their song Spoliarium.
The three comedians were Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon and Richie D’Horsie who were all accused of rape.
Paloma reported to authorities that she and fellow actress Guada Guarin were both allegedly drugged and raped by the three hosts in Quezon City’s Sulo Hotel.
Born Delia Duenas Smith to a Filipina and an American father, Paloma was known as one of the “soda starlets” of the 1980s—so-called because they used famous soft drink brands as their stage names. She was launched along with Coca Nicolas and Sarsi Emmanuelle.
“Please note that I am making the appeal without the intention of trampling on your freedom of speech or of the press. In fact, I am with you in protecting those constitutionally-enshrined rights when I filed a bill amending Republic Act No. 53,” Sotto said.
RA 53 exempts the publisher, editor, or reporter of any news publication from revealing their sources for information obtained in confidence. In June 2016, Sotto filed Senate Bill Number 6, seeking to amend RA 53 to include online media in the law’s coverage.
“Just like everyone, I am for the truth ━ a ‘balanced news,’ so to speak,” Sotto said.
In a text message to Rappler, Sotto confirmed that he made the request to Inquirer. He also called the articles “libelous” and defamatory.