Actress Liza Soberano files criminal case against telco employee over alleged rape ‘joke’

<i>Photo: Liza Soberano / FB, comment screengrab via Twitter </i>
Photo: Liza Soberano / FB, comment screengrab via Twitter

ABS-CBN star Liza Soberano today filed a criminal case against an employee of internet company Converge ICT over an online rape comment the latter allegedly made when the actress ditched the services of her employer.

Soberano was accompanied by her manager Ogie Diaz and legal counsel Jun Lim at the Quezon City regional trial court this morning to file charges against one Melissa Olaes who allegedly made the rape remark about the actress in a Facebook comment which circulated online. Soberano’s camp said that this was in violation of the Republic Act No. 10127 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The 22-year-old actress told ABS-CBN News that she lodged the complaint because the “rape joke” was truly horrifying.

“It’s not something that should be taken lightly. And the fact that she’s a woman, I would never in a million years make a joke like that,” she said, adding that while everyone is entitled to their opinion, it should still be respectful of other people.

“I think it is about time that people learn the consequences of speaking like that on social media,” she added.

Read: Too much attention on beauty over talent ‘hurts’ Liza Soberano

The lead up to the entire controversy started earlier this month, when the actress ranted on Twitter about being an “unhappy customer” of Converge, whose “unprofessional” customer service had long been ignoring her complaints about her sluggish internet speed.

In an ingenious turn of events, however, rival telco provider PLDT heard Soberano’s complaints and swooped in to not only replace her current slow internet but also upgrade it.

Soberano was over the moon tweeting, “PLDT came to my house yesterday and hooked me up with the best internet I have ever experienced in my whole 5 years of living in this house. 300 MBPS. What a lifesaver. Lag? I don’t know her.”

The Fil-American actress’ tweet drew extreme reactions from Pinoys on Twitter who were either happy for her or angry that it was so easy for a celebrity to get her spotty internet issues fixed.

Over the weekend, however, a fan of Soberano alerted her to Olaes’ screen-grabbed comments on Facebook where the Converge employee insinuated that the ABS-CBN star was making money off the PLDT deal as a desperate measure because of her network’s forced shutdown.

“We can’t do anything, [she] doesn’t have a job, so never mind that her image is ruined, as long as she makes a buck. I’d want her to get raped by the…whatever!

Soberano retweeted a series of posts from her loyal fanbase who attacked Olaes over the horrifying comment, which spurred the latter to publicly apologize and admit that it was wrong for her to make the comment.

“The word RAPE it should never be a joking matter because it comes with social, political, and cultural impact. I’ve been insensitive and lost my sense of judgment, and because of that I apologize for everyone I hurt for my bad joke,” she said in English and Filipino, adding her opinions didn’t reflect that of her employer’s.


The following day, Converge released a statement distancing themselves from “the wrongful comments and behavior” of its workers and vowed that “disciplinary measures” will be imposed on its offending employees.

“We do not tolerate such actions toward any customer and emphasize that their personal opinions do not reflect the company’s perspective, values, and culture,” it said.

Soberano, a rom-com darling, was slated to star in the film reboot of Darna, a sort of Pinoy equivalent of Wonder Woman, but had to unhappily drop out of production last year after sustaining a finger injury during shooting.


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