Pepsi Paloma became a trending topic on social media over the weekend after Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III submitted a request to Inquirer.Net to take down three articles involving him to the death of the late actress-dancer.
In a Facebook post by US-based columnist Rodel Rodis, Sotto asked the media company to take down its articles titled, “The Rape of Pepsi Paloma“, “Was Pepsi Paloma Murdered?“, and “Tito Sotto Denies Whitewashing Pepsi Paloma Rape Case“. Rodis was the author of the first two articles mentioned.
The three articles talk about Paloma’s controversial death in 1985 and the multiple speculations behind it.
Paloma’s death continues to be one of the greatest “mystery” in Philippine show business. Many reports confirmed that Paloma took her own life on May 31, 1985. However, there are also conspiracies theories saying that the actress-dancer was allegedly drugged and raped three years before her death.
Rodis’ Facebook post shows a letter sent by Senator Sotto to Paolo Prieto, president and chairman of Inquirer Interactive Inc., saying that “these kinds of unverified articles have been negatively affecting [his] reputation for the longest time.”
Sotto added in the letter that his efforts to clarify his side of the issue had been “ineffectual” due to articles’ ubiquitous circulation online.
He also said that many readers who are oblivious of what happened would take those articles as the “version of truth” since Inquirer.Net has already earned its reputation as a “well-trusted company”.
The TV host-turned-politician then clarified that his request is not “trampling on [the] freedom of speech of the press.”
As seen in his Facebook post, Rodis disagreed to Sotto’s request because complying with such will set a “dangerous precedent”.
Since then, Inquirer.Net has released an official statement as a reply to Sotto’s letter.
“We had received and have been receiving similar requests from people and organizations to have articles written about them and posted on the site be taken down, citing reasons ranging from inaccuracy to being unduly vilified in public and threatened with harm not only to them but also to their family.
“Some had filed libel suits. We have acted on these requests judiciously and made decisions based on our own investigation and based on our journalistic values and principles,” Abelardo Ulanday, publisher and editor-in-chief of Inquirer.Net, wrote.
After Rodis posted Sotto’s request on social media, many netizens got enraged and decided to air their concerns online.
Some said the timing of Sotto’s request was questionable since it was sent eight days after he became Senate President.
Sen Sotto made another blunder by opening the lid of the Pandora box. He will always be remembered by the past and the new generations as the man from Eat Bulaga or the shadow behind the Pepsi Paloma's tragic injustice. Nothing else, nothing more.
— SyLicoNgaAko 裏科 (@SyLicoNgaAko) June 16, 2018
How could Tito Sotto have the audacity to ask @inquirerdotnet to take down Rodel Rodis' article on Pepsi Paloma? He has just proven how low of a person he is. Shame on you.#PepsiPaloma ?#SenatePresident ? pic.twitter.com/OqnsIG65r8
— Kirby Josol (@kkibpj) June 16, 2018
I'm still hoping Pepsi Paloma gets the justice she deserves https://t.co/LxChBEX9gZ
— joyce g (@sharkushark) June 16, 2018
I just realized that Tito Sotto, in his letter to @inquirerdotnet, used the letterhead of the Senate; but there is no state or senate concern in his demand. He only made a power play to make the latter put down the said articles linking him to the Pepsi Paloma case. Mahusay! pic.twitter.com/RRQZndxBDy
— Guammer Lim Partosa (@IAmGuammer) June 16, 2018
How i wish the cold case of #PepsiPaloma would be reopened. With the help of forensic advances & new evidence, they might just crack the case and clarify unanswred questions.
— ds52 (@sdeni48) June 16, 2018
to Senator Tito Sotto : look at what you did – now "Pepsi Paloma" is 4th top trending in the PHL. the issue on you and Pepsi is now much more popular than when the articles are just on PDI.
— WhatAWasteofAdMoney (@wawam) June 16, 2018