The deeper issues of Vice Ganda’s jokes about detained Sen. Leila de Lima

October 22, 2018 - 3:04 PM
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Some social media users slammed "It's Showtime" host Vice Ganda for making fun of Senator Leila de Lima during the "Miss Q&A" segment of the program last weekend. (Instagram/praybeytbenjamin)

“It’s Showtime” host Vice Ganda drew the ire of some social media users after the former made jokes about Senator Leila de Lima in the “Miss Q&A” segment of the longtime running noontime variety show.

In an episode aired on October 20, Saturday, program co-host Jugs Jugueta appeared in the segment wearing a short wig with thick-rimmed glasses and a blue gown.

Vice immediately recalled the embattled senator in his co-host’s appearance.

“Ang taray ng number one o, bloated si Leila de Lima!” the comedian exclaimed with a laugh.

Jugueta was quick to reply that he did not mention any names but Vice added, “Mukhang nahiyang si Leila de Lima sa loob! May message ka ba kay Trillanes? Ano bang gusto mong sabihin sa kanya?”

Jugueta faced the camera and quipped with a gesture of his hand, “Oy! Inaantay ka namin dito!”

This drew laughter from the audience and from Vice himself, who doubled over in amusement.

While Jugueta didn’t mention De Lima’s name, his answers to Vice, together with the latter’s insinuating remarks, suggested that they were talking about the detained senator.

The “Miss Q&A” segment of the program has its origins in the “Question and Answer” portions of formal beauty pageants.

The version of “It’s Showtime” is more flamboyant, where members of the LGBTQ+ community are supposed to show off their wit and beauty through their respective costumes and amusing answers to the hosts’ inquiries.

Some social media users, however, were not entertained by Vice’s remarks.

They accused the comedian of being “insensitive” after making jokes about the senator who has been detained for more than a year due to her alleged involvement in the Bilibid drug trade.

The case of Leila de Lima 

De Lima has been detained in the custodial center of the Philippine National Police since February 2017.

She was accused of being linked to the Bilibid drug trade that caused a public uproar when President Rodrigo Duterte released a matrix that supposedly showed personalities involved in the drug trafficking inside the compound.

De Lima was the Justice Secretary when reports of drug-related activities surfaced in 2014 following consecutive raids where various drug paraphernalia was recovered.

Despite the accusations, the senator remained firm in her non-involvement and called out Duterte for persecuting her since she has been one of the most vocal critics of his anti-drugs campaign.

While detained, Sen. Leila de Lima is reaping accolades. Fortune magazine recently named her on the annual list of World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.(Philstar/File photo)

She previously filed a bill in the upper house that aimed to end the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the campaign.

When the Department of Justice acquitted Kerwin Espinosa of drug charges last March, De Lima noted that it proved her innocence. His testimony, along with the other accused drug lords, were the ones used to charge her.

Lawmakers from the international community have additionally decried the senator’s detention, saying that the administration’s criminal charges is its way of responding to her constant “vocal opposition” on the drug war.

They insisted that there was no solid evidence that justified her involvement.

Despite being in jail, De Lima has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” early this year.

She was also a recipient of the prestigious “Prize for Freedom” award from Liberal International for her “exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights” in the country.

The organization recognized her efforts to condemn the drug war which has killed more than 4,500 people ever since its implementation.