After all the negative reactions that Eat Bulaga host Joey De Leon garnered for his insensitive comment on depression, he took a few minutes earlier to give his apology on live television.
“Dala po ng gulo at tuksuhan namin, naging mababaw lang at magaan ang pag-tanggap ng iyong lingkod sa salitang [depression] ‘yan,” (Due to our rowdy and teasing environment, my understanding of the word depression was light and shallow) he admitted. “Hanggang nabanggit ko nga yung, ‘Wala, gawa-gawa lang ‘yan ng ibang tao.’ Yun kasi ang paniniwala ko na ang stress tsaka depression, halos magkapantay lamang.” (Up to the point that I said depression was just made up by people. That’s what I used to believe, that stress and depression are just the same.)
Joey also admits that he doesn’t know everything in this world and that we, as the public audience, shouldn’t always believe in what he says. “Habang nabubuhay po tayo eh natututo tayo ng mga bagong mga bagay-bagay. Nagkamali po ako.” (As long as we live, we continue to learn new things. I made a mistake.)
The TV show host also admits to not being fully informed about what depression was all about—to a point that his own wife and kids had to school him about it. “So, tungkol po sa depression na nabanggit ni Maine [Mendoza], eh pinagalitan ako ng misis ko, si Eileen. Pag-uwi ko po, pinaliwanag niya at pati ‘yung mga anak namin, sinabi, ‘Daddy, hindi stress ‘yan at depression.’ ‘Hindi, ‘yun ang alam ko eh.’ Yung iba ‘pag nawalan lang ng boyfriend, nade-depress.’” (My wife Eileen got mad at me when I got home. She and my kids explained to me, “Daddy, stress is not the same as depression.” And he explained that it’s what he believed in. Like when people lose their boyfriends, they get depressed right away.) What made him feel worse and embarrassed was finding out that a few loved ones were actually going through it.
He also disclosed that he couldn’t sleep until he called Maine to apologize. She was, after all, the one who brought up the importance of depression and moral support. “Nag-sorry ako kay Maine agad dahil siya ‘yung nagbanggit nu’n sa usapan naming tatlo sa depression. Medyo nakaluwag ‘yung paghinga ko. Hirap na ako matulog hanggang hindi umaabot itong pagkakataon na ito.” (I apologized to Maine right away because she was the one who brought it up during our conversation. I was able to breathe better after. I couldn’t sleep until this moment.)
“So uli, humihingi po ako ng kapatawaran sa mga nasaktan, nagalit. I’m sorry at may kasabihan naman tayo na, ‘Mapait man ang ugat ng karunungan o edukasyon, karaniwan namang matamis ang binubunga nito.’” (So again, I am asking for the forgiveness of everyone who got hurt and who got mad. I’m sorry. But we have a saying that “The vein of wisdom and education can be bitter, but its effects can be sweet.”)
Yes, Joey, that was a proper apology with context to help viewers understand why it was wrong to begin with. What I can’t swallow is that, you are a powerful and influential person, you simply cannot dismiss this as something that you did not know about so people shouldn’t pick it up like gospel. You have a responsibility as a person in front of the camera, too, especially about social issues that plague our country. Then again, you are human and you apologized… for this, at least.
Art by Lara Intong
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