[Vice Ganda (left): Not living up to his screen name (real name: Jose Marie Visceral)? Above: Jessica Soho, vice president for GMA Network’s News Programs (second from right), with (from left) Reader’s Digest Philippines advertising director Maricarl Garcia, RD Asia Pacific editor-in-chief Sue Carney and RD Asia commercial director Yvonne Tey.]

MANILA, JUNE 3, 2013 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricky Lo - Don’t you find this file photo of Vice Ganda (whom some people are starting to call Vicious Ganda) looking at himself in the mirror very intriguing?

I do and I wonder: What image does he see? In light of the current mess he finds himself in, your guess is as good as anybody’s.

After making what many people perceived as offensive jokes during his Big Dome May 17 concert about Jessica Soho being “heavyweight” (as a multi-awarded journalist, she really is) and about Jessica being “gang raped” if she were a bold star, VG (reluctantly?) made an apology on ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime yesterday, quote-unquote (verbatim) from abscbnnews.com:

“Tinawagan ko po kara-karaka kanina si Miss Jessica Soho. Nag-ring ang phone, sa boses pa lang alam ko na si Miss Jessica Soho. Sabi ko, ‘Good morning po, pwede ko bang makausap si Miss Jessica Soho?’ At sumagot, sabi niya, ‘Sino ito para saan ito?’ Tapos sabi ko, ‘Ako po si Vice Ganda.’ Tapos sabi niya, ‘Si Jessica Soho ito. Pasensiya ka na kasi hindi maganda ang timpla ko ngayong araw na ito.’ Kaya sabi ko naman, ‘Okay po. Is it okay po if I will call you later, tomorrow or some other day?’ Sabi niya, ‘I don’t think so.’

“So sa pakiwari ko, maaring nasasaktan pa siya, nagagalit pa siya, hindi pa siya tapos doon. Hindi pa niya ako kayang patawarin kaya hindi ko nasabi ang gusto kong sabihin. At noong sinabi niyo po, Miss Jessica Soho, na you don’t think na gusto niyo akong makausap maybe tomorrow, some other day or later, kaya ngayon ko na lang gagawing pampubliko ito para makarating sa inyo.

“Ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin. Patawad po at pinapangako ko sa inyo na hindi na kayo magiging kasama kailanman sa ano mang tema ng pagtatanghal ko.

“’Yun lang ang nararamdaman ko at naiisip kong tamang gawin para makabawi ako kung nasaktan ko kayo. ‘Yon lang po. Humihingi ako ng kapatawaran. Kung hindi niyo po ako mapatawad sa ngayon, sana balang araw ay mapatawad niyo ako dahil, inuulit ko, ‘yun po ay isang biro lamang. Tulad po ng sinabi ko bago magsimula ang konsierto ko na ang lahat po ay biro lang…

“Tungkol sa isyu ng rape, na ginawa ko daw katatawanan ang rape. Lahat po nang nakapanood ng gabing ‘yon ay umuwi ng bahay nila na walang naalalang rape. Pero hindi ko na ija-justify kung ano ang ginawa kong tama o mali. Gusto ko lang klaruhin sa lahat na hindi ko po kailanman gugustuhing kukutyain ang rape victims. Wala akong intention na masama, na pagtawanan ang rape victims.

“Gayun pa man, kung mayroon pong nasaktan, humihingi po ako ng paumanhin at sa lahat ng nakisali sa maliit na isyung ito na pinalaki ng pinalaki na naging national isyu na nagsimula sa isang biro. Kung hindi niyo nagustuhan ang biro ko, paumanhin sa inyo.

“Ako po ay tao, mukha lang akong kabayo. Hindi ako perpektong komedyante at alam ko sa sarili ko na hindi lahat ng joke ko ay nakakatawa. Mayroong isang tao na magsasabing hindi ako natawa, depende ‘yan kung paano mo tatanggapin. Gayun pa man, mula sa puso ko, humihingi ako ng paumanhin.

“Sana tapusin na natin ang isyu na ito at pinapanalangin ko na mapatawad ako. Sa lahat ng mga nagsalita sa akin ng masama, lalo na ‘yung hindi nakapanood at nakaparinig lang, okay lang. Kung hindi niyo ako naunawaan, ako ang uunawa sa inyo.”

An apology straight from the horse’s mouth? Uhm, guess again.

Read the whole thing between the lines, especially the last line, and you will wonder if VG is really, truly, sincerely, whole-heartedly repentant.

Here’s Jessica’s statement on VG’s apology:

“I acknowledge the public apology given by Vice Ganda, by way of his TV program.

“I sincerely hope and pray that this was done with the purest intentions and determination to put this issue behind us.

“Just to clarify certain points about my phone conversation with him — his call came without warning as his number was not programmed in my phone directory. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and I wasn’t sure I was ready to talk to him. But I clearly remember thanking him for his call.

“As I’ve said, this is not about me, but about the issue of rape not being an appropriate subject matter for comedy.

“Rape transcends age, economic class, gender — and even one’s weight.

“Once again, I thank everyone who gave their support.”

Incidentally, Jessica has just again been chosen (for the third time) by Reader’s Digest as The Most Trusted News Personality of 2013. Now, between Jessica and VG, who do you think is more credible, and more trustworthy?

Meanwhile, I want to end this piece the way the late Billy Esposo would end his column As I Wreck This Chair every day: Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Moral of the story? Don’t be like Icarus who tries to fly higher than he could, only to fall flat back to earth with a loud thud. Hubris, you know!


Vice Ganda to Jessica Soho: Forgive me INQUIRER.net May 29, 2013 | 12:56 pm

MANILA, Philippines–Television host and comedian Vice Ganda (Jose Marie Borja Viceral) apologized to GMA Network executive Jessica Soho for making fun of the latter during his concert at the Araneta Coliseum on May 17.

Speaking at the start of ABS-CBN noontime show “Showtime’’ on Wednesday , Vice Ganda admitted he had offended Soho and some other people who he used as subjects of his jokes.

“Buong puso kong gustong humingi ng tawad ke Jessicca Soho,’’ Vice Ganda said, adding he tried to call Soho Wednesday morning to personally offer his apology. He said Soho answered the telephone but told him she was not in a good mood to really talk to him.

Vice Ganda said he thanked Soho and admitted the TV exec might not be ready yet to forgive him.

So Vice Ganda made his offer of apology public and promised not to include Soho among the people who will be the subject of his jokes.

He also said he did not mean to malign or ridicule rape victims when he made the jokes during his concert.

“I’m not a perfect comedian. I’m sure not all my jokes are funny. But it actually depends on people hearing those jokes how they will take it,’’ he said.

But he reiterated his apology to the people he might have offended in his jokes. “I would like to make clear to all that I have no intention of making fun of victims of rape…nevertheless, I would like to apologize to those who felt they were offended,” he said.

Vice Ganda said he was hoping that his apology would put an end to the controversy and speculations.

Gang-rape joke went too far, says news anchor Jessica Soho By Emmie G. Velarde Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The network wars just got personal.

On Tuesday, GMA 7 vice president for news programs and news anchor Jessica Soho slammed comedian Jose Marie Viceral—more popularly known as Vice Ganda—a talent of rival network ABS-CBN, for a “cruel” joke the latter made about her during his recent concert.

Soho told the Inquirer by phone Tuesday she had taken more than a week to decide whether or not to take action after receiving reports of the sexist slur. “I’m happy that I moved on rather quickly, but other people have started speaking out in my defense.”

In a text statement, Soho said “I thank all those who shared my hurt and expressed their support…this should [no longer] be about me but about rape victims who suffer tremendously from this horrible crime.”

On May 17, during the packed concert titled “I Vice Ganda Mo Ako sa Araneta” at the Big Dome, Viceral staged a whole segment about unlikely celebrities becoming bold stars.

The segment, uploaded on YouTube in its entirety, included jokes about Soho, the only GMA 7 personality among ABS-CBN stars (Boy Abunda, Kris Aquino, Gus Abelgas and Kim Atienza) “roasted.”

Should Soho start making sexy movies, Viceral said, the pivotal scene should be a gang rape. This followed a joke—and was followed by another—about Soho’s weight.

“I could let the fat jokes go,” Soho told the Inquirer earlier. “But he had to go so far.”

On Tuesday morning on his dzBB radio show, “One on One with Igan,” Arnold Clavio ranted, directly addressing Viceral: “Why victimize serious people who have serious jobs (Soho is an award-winning broadcaster)? You shouldn’t be using them just to make others laugh. Why don’t you just do that to your colleagues over at ABS-CBN?”

TV5’s InterAkson.com joined the fray, posting Viceral’s Jessica jokes in full, and supporting Clavio’s position that Viceral had “bullied” Soho.

Sought for comment, a top-ranking ABS-CBN executive told the Inquirer by phone that the network wasn’t sure it should get involved. Besides, the executive said, it had been 11 days since the concert at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “Why are they doing this only now—and isn’t it curious that all the complaints so far are coming from their (GMA 7’s) news people?”

From Viceral’s camp, road manager Russ Samson sent the Inquirer a text message at press time saying they were still waiting for the comedian’s “go-signal” to issue a statement or clarification.

Soho acknowledges Vice Ganda sorry, hopes his intentions are pure By Emmie G. Velarde Philipine Daily Inquirer May 29, 2013 | 5:24 pm

GMA News anchor Jessica Soho . FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Multi-awarded broadcast journalist Jessica Soho on Wednesday “acknowledged the public apology” offered by Vice Ganda as she hoped it was done by the comedian with pure intentions.

Soho and Vice Ganda, or Jose Marie Viceral, have been at odds over a gang rape joke he made at Soho’s expense during a concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on May 17.

“I acknowledge the public apology given by Vice Ganda, by way of his TV program,” Soho, GMA Network news anchor and vice president for news programs, said in a statement.

“I sincerely hope and pray that this was done with the purest intentions and determination to put this issue behind us,” she said.

Soho on Tuesday decried the joke was “cruel,” taking to task Vice Ganda for trivializing gang rape which, she pointed out was a crime.

On his daily noontime show on ABS-CBN Wednesday, Vice Ganda delivered a longish ”apology.” He said he had earlier phoned Soho, but that she refused to talk with him. Instead, Vice Ganda said, Soho effectively discouraged him from calling again.

Thus, the comedian said, he felt the need to express on nationwide television what he was not given the chance to tell Soho, “in the hope that this will reach you.”

He repeatedly asked for forgiveness in the course of his monologue, throwing in explanations whenever he could, for his conduct:

“I’m human.”

“I’m not a perfect comedian.”

“I know that not all my jokes are funny; there is no comedian who can claim all his jokes are funny. There will always be someone in the audience who will not like a joke or two.”

Vice Ganda likewise managed to chide people who have swamped social networking sites with damning comments against him.

“This is a small thing that came from a simple joke but which has become a national issue,” he said. ”Everybody has an opinion on it, and it’s not helping. Let us stop this.”

He divided observers and participants in the virtual debates into two camps: those who “understood” and took his jokes well, and those who didn’t get it. He thanked the first group profusely and told the second group: “It’s okay, I am not angry. If you don’t understand me, I will try to understand you.”

Vice Ganda vehemently denied that his Jessica joke was a mockery of rape victims. “It was not meant that way. It was just a joke, as I said at the start of the concert.” He vowed never again to include Soho in any of his routines, “if that’s the only way I can prove that I’m sorry.”

A few hours later, Soho sent the Philippine Daily Inquirer a text message acknowledging Vice Ganda’s apology but denying that she closed the door on him, as he claimed.

The statement said in part: “Just to clarify certain points about my phone conversation with him–his call came without warning, as his number was not programmed in my phone directory. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and I wasn’t sure I was ready to talk to him. But I clearly remember thanking him for his call.”

She added: ”I sincerely hope and pray that (the apology) this was done with the purest intentions and determination to put this issue behind us. As I’ve said, this is not about me, but about the issue of rape not being an appropriate subject matter for comedy.

Rape transcends age, economic class, gender — and even one’s weight.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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