Does the Eraserheads’ song ‘Spolarium’ tell of the rape of Pepsi Paloma?

What is it about the words in the Eraserheads’ song “Spolarium” that continues to intrigue urban legend mongers? Speculation surrounding how the underlying meaning of its lyrics points to the sensational 1980s rape case that links Philippine Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto to the alleged rape of 1980’s starlet Pepsi Paloma have finally made it to mainstream media after years of being analysed and debated in various blogs and message forums. In an article published on the venerable Inquirer.net, Filipino-American lawyer Rodel Rodis recounts his personal experience delving into this popular Filipino urban legend after three Filipino “diehard fans” of the Eraserheads introduced him to the story. “I expressed surprise because it occurred long before any of them were born. They explained that they learned of the rape from the song,” writes Rodis.

Here are the lyrics of “Spolarium”…

Dumilim ang paligid
May tumawag sa pangalan ko
Labing isang palapag
Tinanong kung okey lang ako
Sabay abot ng baso
May naghihintay
At bakit ba ‘pag nagsawa na ako
Biglang ayoko na

At ngayon
Di pa rin alam
Kung ba’t tayo nandito
Pwede bang itigil muna
Ang pag-ikot ng mundo

Lumiwanag ang buwan
San Juan
Di ko na nasasakyan
Ang lahat ng bagay ay
Gumuguhit na lang
Sa ‘king lalamunan
Ewan mo at ewan natin
Sinong may pakana?
At bakit ba
Tumilapon ang
Gintong alak diyan sa paligid mo?

At ngayon
Di pa rin alam
Kung ba’t tayo nandito
Puwede bang itigil muna
Ang pag-ikot ng mundo

Umiyak ang umaga
Anong sinulat ni Enteng at Joey diyan
Sa pintong salamin
Di ko na mabasa
Pagkat merong nagbura
Ewan ko at ewan natin
Sinong nagpakana?
At bakit ba tumilapon ang spoliarium
Diyan sa paligid mo?

At ngayon
Di pa rin alam
Kung ba’t tayo nandito
Puwede bang itigil muna
Ang pag-ikot ng mundo

Paloma was best known as one of the “softdrink” beauties along with starlets Coca Nicolas and Sarsi Emmanuel in Philippine Cinema of the early eighties. Her career and life were tragically cut short after an unfortunate alleged crossing of paths with comedy stars and noontime variety show personalities Joey de Leon, Richie d’Horsey, and Vic Sotto.

The Eraserheads
The Eraserheads
In 1982, Paloma who was aged fifteen at the time reportedly approached then Philippine Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile for help, claiming she was raped by de Leon, d’Horsey, and Sotto. Vic Sotto is the brother of now Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto who himself was a famous showbiz celebrity. The man who was to become Senator of the Republic starred alongside his brother Vic and Joey de Leon in various productions. The trio are well-known for their billing as “Tito Vic and Joey” with d’Horsey often joining them in supporting roles.

Enrile referred Paloma to the law firm Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRA) where the late former Senator Rene Cayetano was at the time a senior partner. Cayetano took the job of legal counsel to Paloma in a move that would catapult him into the media spotlight of the time.

Paloma supposedly committed suicide in 1985 three years after she supposedly agreed to a settlement with Vic Sotto and his party. The negotiations that led to this settlement, according to columnist Rina Jimenez David, involved one of the negotiators “placing a pistol on the table in front of her.” No further criminal charges had since been filed against Sotto, de Leon, and D’Horsey.

According to Rodis, the police report on Paloma’s “suicide” stated that Paloma was suffering from “monetary problems”, an account disputed by Babette Corcuerra, Paloma’s manager…

“She was earning well and was fully booked for dancing performances. She just finished the Pepsi Paloma Show at the Bughaw and 10 other beerhouses,” Corcuerra said, and she had three film offers lined up, she added.

It just did not add up, Corcuerra said. “She was looking forward to celebrating her 18th birthday next year. She made me promise to throw a big party for her at a hotel because it would be her debut,” Corcuerra told the Times Journal.

Was she murdered? Before he passed away, in an interview on ABS-CBN that was not aired, self-confessed hitman Kit Mateo intimated as much.

Will the truth ever come out about Pepsi Paloma’s “rape”? Probably not. Sotto and de Leon’s popular variety show Eat Bulaga continues to make millions for its stars and producers, and its most famous alumnus, Tito Sotto is one of the Philippine Senate’s most powerful members.

Get in line, but don’t hold your breath.

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24 Comments on “Does the Eraserheads’ song ‘Spolarium’ tell of the rape of Pepsi Paloma?”

  1. I don’t know if someone did an interview with Eraserhead’s frontman Ely Buendia about this matter yet.

    For now, this case will be an urban legend.

  2. Posibleng tutuo ang istoryang yan, posible ring hindi…EHeads lang makakasagot kung para saan ang kanta, ano ang ibig sabihin at kung saan hinugot..

    At sana lang hindi tutuong mga sikat pang tao ang sangkot sa kaso…tsk tsk tsk

  3. Hi,

    The story behind “Spoliarium’s” lyrics were clarified by Karin Araneta (a close friend of the band – she even has a co-writer credit on “Kailan”) years ago on her [now-extinct] Multiply page. A copy of the text was saved for posterity here:

    http://clumsydaisy.tumblr.com/post/6378635421/spolarium-by-karin-araneta

    Not in any way related to the Eat Bulaga hosts, unfortunately: Enteng and Joey were part of the band’s touring crew (they even have their profiles on the band’s “fanzine” Pillbox).

    Hope this helps. 🙂

    1. While this guy Chinof is mainly interested about the truth and facts behind the song (even sharing a link and backgrounder for that matter), some of those who commented in here are only interested in urban legends, even arrogantly insinuating their ideas, as they wish to believe them, as facts. A la ABS-CBN Kapamilya!

    2. Actually this is true… As someone who knows the band personally this song is a literally a narration of drinking too much in someone (insert a known female artist linked to one of the band members name here… ) condo on the 11th floor.

  4. Pfc. Willy Borgonia of the Quezon City police investigation division, however, said a diary he found at Pepsi’s room disproved her manager’s claim. The diary said she was so depressed for not having had any movie offers lately. “Wala akong masyadong pelikula. Maraming gastos,” she wrote in her diary. “Ako lahat ang gumagastos sa bahay, pati pang-tuition ng mga kapatid ko.” She also complained about her mother in Olongapo City: “Hindi ko alam kung itinuturing akong tunay na anak ng nanay ko.”

    http://video48.blogspot.com/2009/03/bold-stars-3-cruel-world-of-pepsi.html

  5. Truth becomes manifested thru a set of facts so one must first have to collect facts before venturing into the territory of conclusion! My opinion is, the diary found by the police in the room must first be found as authentic, otherwise our investigation can not logically proceed. The diary info seems authentic so we can surmise the suicide is the last straw in the ruined career which arose from her boldness to accuse the Eat Bulaga Trio of raping her! It is not far fetched to think that the Trio got her black listed in the show biz of which they exercised a substantial clout! After settling her case thru plea bargain where only the civil aspect of the complaint is tackled!

  6. Is there an interview about eheads finally saying that the lyrics of the song spolarium is about Paloma’s rape case? Because really, I haven’t seen one yet.

  7. Maloko man nila tayong lahat sa kung ano talaga ang totoo.. hindi nila maloloko ang mga sarili nila (suspect/s). Habambuhay nilang dadalhin sa mga puso’t isip nila ang krimen na naganap.

  8. Justice is crooked in our country. The criminals are walking free; they are even in the high offices in politics. The investigators of the rape and murder case of this unfortunate girl , performed half heartedly, in their investigation.

    It is unfortunate for this girl being raped by these criminals. The American father abandoned the family, and her mother made her the supporter of the family. Then, she had faced these unfortunate incidents in her life…I believe the case is compromised ; the justice system in our country stinks !

  9. “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed;
    neither hid, that shall not be known.”
    LUKE 12:2 KJV

    BTW, that scene depicted on the Spoliarium painting
    where dead combatants were being dragged out of the Colosseum
    was adopted by film director RidleyScott in the movie Gladiator
    further earning kudos for JuanLuna .

  10. a big lesson to be learned:
    Filipinas ought to behave/dress in a manner that would earn them
    sterling respect and admiration from menfolk.
    ” act like a pok-pok, and you will be regarded as a pok-pok. ”
    ” behave like a virtuous princess, and you will be splendidly treated as such. ”

    on the other hand, Filipinos could re-learn to act like gentlemen
    ditch the Latino-influenced “macho bullshit” lecherous mindset
    that looks down on women as mere sex objects.

    Filipinos by tradition are conservative folks who once held dear inviolable moral scruples
    until the likes of PadreDamaso desecrated these standards in the name of Christianity
    along with invading Yanquis, Nipponese soldiers and culminating in the introduction
    of Guccione, Hefner and the unfettered promiscuity offered by the internet.

    it’s but regrettable that some Filipinas bask in the glory of their “feminist empowerment”
    ( thanks to “liberated” American celebrity role models ) that robs them of proper esteem.
    some even go as far as engaging in lesbian relationships and brazenly flaunt these acts publicly,
    even posting their sexual encounters on web porn sites.

    this wretchedness has crept into the psyche of some Filipino menfolk
    who have elected to become homosexuals, highly visible in the entertainment industry.
    ( just wondering why the RomanCatholicChurch has not chastised these people )
    abominable acts of faggotry shown on daily noontime TV variety shows,
    corrupting the minds of impressionable minors,
    wrongly teaching them that BEING GAY IS A-OK.
    even veteran actors of fame such as EddieGarcia shamelessly playing
    the roles of wrinkled homos for a quick buck to sustain his derelict acting career.
    the sorry plight of that hapless Pinoy faggot murdered by a US serviceman
    bears witness on how low the Filipino descended down the gutter_for a few dollars more.

    we reap what we sow, as the saying goes
    but it is never too late to turn things around for good_ one day at a time
    otherwise, it’s an endless re-run of Pepsi Paloma’s rape/murder scenes.

  11. This old article from year 2014, unbelievably, keeps coming back, every time in every year, in the GRP list of “Top Posts in the last 48 hrs”! I can only wonder what’s the fixation all about even when the original author’s opinion submission piece failed to verify the claims (allegedly based on a “personal experience”) and has been taken down for the apparent lack of willingness to do.

    Inquirer (described by this author as “venerable”?!) who carried the story since 2014 said, “We believe this is not a question of press freedom but the veracity of a story.”

    And No, the Eraserheads’ song isn’t about this sad Pepsi Paloma incident at all but about the group’s drinking session, a story related by one of the commenters here, an insider to the E-heads, who even provided a valid link still accessible at the time. There’s also a found diary of Ms. Paloma, which suggested a case of suicide, as contained in a spot police report in the investigation of the scene.

    It’s intriguing why are there so many screeching woke netizens pretending to be crusaders in behalf of the deceased starlet, even more affected than the Pepsi Paloma’s mother, who still hasn’t spoken, or rather, still refused to speak her mind about it even to this day?

    When “Paloma supposedly committed suicide in 1985 three years after she supposedly agreed to a settlement with Vic Sotto and his party”, Tito Sotto was only a vice mayor of Quezon City (from 1988 to 1992). Not quite a powerful position by political standards!

    The author asks the question: “Will the truth ever come out about Pepsi Paloma’s “rape”? Probably not.”

    Not a fan of Mr. Sotto but I beg to differ…

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