Whether or not you’re hooked on “Pinoy Big Brother: Connect,” it’s hard not to get caught up in some of the drama involving certain housemates. On Jan. 3, the show held its second eviction night. To no one’s surprise, housemate Russu Laurente got the ax after ex-housemate Justin Dizon. Actress and PBB host Toni Gonzaga had some thoughts on the matter that received their own set of mixed reactions.
Last night, Gonzaga said on Instagram that Laurente should be forgiven. A number of fans had voted for his eviction after several of his tweets on being pro-ABS-CBN shutdown surfaced. “For our 2nd eviction night housemate 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 wrote. “I hugged the boy after the show and he kept apologizing. Forgiveness is a gift everyone deserves.”
Before getting evicted, Laurente told a co-housemate his reasons for supporting the network’s shutdown earlier. In a clip from the PBB live stream aired on Kumu, 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].” He further stated that he initially wasn’t able to hear the side of those who were against the shutdown, and that he only realized that he was in the wrong when he saw posts from his friends in the industry about how it affected the livelihood of the company’s employees.
Prior to the eviction, PBB host Robi Domingo also raised the issue in a clip on “PBB KUMUnect Tayo Primetime.” “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.”
Some fans of the show found Gonzaga’s post inspiring. However, others speculated that she was “projecting” as one of the celebrities who were called out for being “pro-Duterte” while the hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal were ongoing. The comments section for PBB’s tweet with a photo of Gonzaga and Laurente’s hug was filled with opposing opinions.
While it is understandable to be wary of people with a history of supporting government policies and decisions that, many point out, can be abused to curtail our basic rights and freedoms, we must remember that it is possible for people to change their stance on sociopolitical issues once they become more informed. In 2021, we will continue to educate each other.