The Gist


For people on social media, actress and host Toni Gonzaga could no longer redeem herself from being a known "dictator apologist", and the people are making sure, that even as she "projects" forgiveness for an evicted housemate, we should #neverforget.

/ 5 January 2021

Nineteen-year-old Russu Laurente supported the closure of ABS-CBN in 2020, but a few months later, he found himself inside one of the network’s most famous reality TV shows.

The housemates inside the Pinoy Big Brother house or ‘PBB’ were always the talk of the town since the show first aired in 2005. But this time, the issue seems to be ‘outside’ after its host Toni Gonzaga, defended Laurente for his previous statement against ABS-CBN. 

In a lengthy, personal, Instagram post after Laurente’s eviction from the house on Sunday, January 3, Toni wrote,” Russu was evicted because of a mistake he did that eventually made him realize the damage it has done. People are very quick to judge him, call him names and crucify him on social media because of it without realizing that at 19 years old, he doesn’t know the gravity of words spoken.,” the host noted.

For Gonzaga, it was wrong to label Laurente  for he is young and could still “mature in life.”

“He has learned his lesson and this will help him grow and mature in life. And now that he knows better, He will do better. May this also serve as a reminder for us to not define and label a person by the mistakes they’ve committed but from how they rise up, rebuild and become a better person they are really supposed to be,” Gonzaga said.

“I hugged the boy after the show and he kept apologizing. Forgiveness is a gift everyone deserves,” she stressed.

People on social media did not buy Gonzaga’s statement. In fact, ‘BBE TONI’ trended on social media–suggesting that the host should be ‘evicted’ from the show as well. 

It can be recalled that Gonzaga was spotted dining with President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañang Palace back in 2019 while husband and film director Paul Soriano, openly posted on social media that “Bongbong Marcos is their Vice President. The host was also relatively silent in the course of the fight for the ABSCBN franchise and called out nobody amid the closure of ABS-CBN.

In an Instagram post last year, Gonzaga said that “people in position” should not be blamed for the network’s shut down.

“LOL [Laughing out loud] at toni gonzaga. Affected siya kasi she’s projecting [she’s affected because she is ‘projecting’]. She also wants the public to forgive her for being a Marcos/Duterte enabler. There is such a thing as accountability. Forgiveness and consequence of your actions do not go hand in hand,” a social media user wrote. 



“Nineteen years old is no longer a minor. Hindi lang Isang beses siyang nagpost. People just want him evicted. Kasi nga ang daming nawalan ng trabaho ng pinasara ang network.’Yung iba tao kahit hindi nagtatrabaho sa ABS-CBN apektado sila. Yung ibang nagtatrabaho deadma lang, DDS kasi,” another user said, referring to Laurente and Gonzaga. 

[Nineteen years old is no longer a minor. It isn’t the first time he posted such things. People just want him evicted. A lot of employees were laid off when the network was closed. People who are not even part of ABS-CBN were affected. Others who work for the network tolerated it because they are ‘DDS,’]



Before his eviction, Laurente discussed his reasons for supporting the network’s closure. In a clip from the PBB live stream, he said, “Nag-yes ako sa [ABS-CBN shutdown] kasi [ang social media] grabe makapag-influence. Lahat ng friends ko sa social media [are] from Mindanao. Alam nyo naman na [kapag] from Mindanao, susuportahan talaga nila ‘yung…kilala mo na? Yung nagpasara ng [ABS-CBN].”

[I said yes because of social media’s influence. All of my online friends are from Mindanao and people from Mindanao support the one who ordered ABS-CBN’s closure]

For Gonzaga’s co-host Robi Domingo, Laurente’s actions can be forgiven but not forgotten. “We can forgive but we will never forget. Ito ang tinig ng mga nawalan.” he said, addressing Russu.

 “Mahiya ka naman na gusto mong masarado yung isang programa [na] kabilang sa ABS-CBN, tapos sasali ka rin.” the host concluded.

[We can forgive but we will never forget. This is the stand of the ones who were affected by the closure. Shame on you for supporting the ABS-CBN’s closure and joining one of its programs later on]