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Toni Gonzaga defends ‘PBB’ housemate who once supported ABS-CBN shutdown

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jan 03, 2021 11:12 pm

Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Connect host Toni Gonzaga is asking the public to forgive and stop bashing controversial housemate Russu Laurente, who was evicted last night after getting the lowest percentage of votes. 

Two weeks leading to the eviction, Laurente came under fire when netizens found his earlier tweets that contained the hashtag #YesToABSCBNShutDown, which was a heated issue before the network went off-air in May 2020. 

Following the discovery of the tweets, social media was abuzz with netizens calling for the eviction of Laurente, a 19-year-old boxer from General Santos City. In the show’s Jan. 2 episode, Laurente together with another housemate Crismar Menchavez, admitted to Big Brother that they were, indeed, once in favor of the ABS-CBN shutdown.

Laurente apologized to Big Brother and said that he was not fully aware of the story behind the shutdown of ABS-CBN, the home network of the reality show he joined in.

Hosts Robi Domingo and Toni Gonzaga interviewed Laurente after his eviction. Gonzaga said, “A person is not defined by a mistake. He is defined how he rises up… From every mistake, we get the lesson and we move forward to become a better person.”

Days prior to the eviction night, Domingo reacted upon learning Laurente’s stance on the network’s shutdown and said, “We can forgive but we will never forget.”

Right after the show, Gonzaga took to Instagram to bare her thoughts about Laurente’s eviction.

“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,” Gonzaga wrote.

Gonzaga also said that after the show, she hugged Laurente, who kept apologizing. “Forgiveness is a gift everyone deserves,” she concluded her post.

The morning after the show, Gonzaga’s message trended on Twitter.

Some netizens praised Gonzaga for her message of forgiveness, and others admired her for professionalism and her “words of wisdom.”

Meanwhile, people also commented that Gonzaga has yet to speak against her home network’s shutdown, which left more than 11,000 of its employees jobless amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banner image photos from and Pinoy Big Brother YouTube channel