During last Monday’s House hearing on ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise renewal, an unexpected guest made an appearance. Entertainment writer and former DZMM host Jobert Sucaldito shared his take on the network’s labor cases by proceeding to go into his grievances over his suspension earlier in the year. And suddenly, what once was seen as a serious(?) hearing slowly turned into bizarre reality TV no one could completely tune out. It’s a mess, but this much is clear: mental health is not a joke.
To refresh your memory: Sucaldito was suspended in January 2020 for his remarks against Nadine Lustre
TANGINA MAY IBABABA PA PALA TONG HEARING SA ABS-CBN FRANCHISE RENEWAL. INVITED SI JOBERT SUCALDITO FEAT. PICTURE NG LALAKING NAKAJUBAD pic.twitter.com/hTR0Cfdv8A
— just sagittarius things (@scorsaguin) June 29, 2020
Jobert Sucaldito is fired for his suicide joke against Nadine Lustre on live air. He deserved that removal no matter how many years he worked in the industry. So why is he given a voice against ABSCBN’s renewal????!!!! EXCUSE ME WHAT IS THIS BS
— moaning martha (@slayemyanee) June 29, 2020
To understand why netizens have reacted in shock to Sucaldito’s hearing appearance, we need to go back to all those months ago where James Reid and Nadine Lustre’s breakup was all over the internet.
You might remember that during the first week of January, entertainment writer Ricky Lo released an article about the then-unconfirmed breakup. He wrote a paragraph that eventually got edited out of the online article: “James is handling the breakup with care to cushion the impact on Nadine who has admitted to grappling with mental illness ([she] has a brother who committed suicide).”
Nadine then slammed Ricky Lo for pointedly including her mental health issues in the article. “Anu na, 2020 na!” she wrote on her Instagram story. And like a good radio host that he is, Jobert Sucaldito tried to weigh in on the issue except, instead of saying something wise, he said this on air:
“Di kami ang may pakulo ng lahat ng ito. Wala kaming alam sa buhay ng mga idols ninyo. Sila ang naggawa-gawa ng mga kwento na mali namin ay pinatulan namin. Di ba? Kaya lumaki at medyo napag-uusapan. Di ba yun naman ang gusto nila? Kuno kuno may mga labas ang pwet, naka-T-back pa dun sa building tapos may nakalagay na mga caption na mga parang gustong tumalon. Sana tumalon na lang kung ganun din naman pala.”
He showed no remorse all those months ago
While netizens were in an uproar over his shocking statements, DZMM wisely suspended Sucaldito, a move which was “standard procedure” since he was under investigation for the incident. But instead of issuing a heartfelt apology to those involved, he complained about how the network chose the side of the “trolls and fans” over him who had spent the last 2 decades of his life working for them.
He never showed remorse for his statement, which not only clearly shamed Nadine for her choice of wardrobe, but also joked about her committing suicide.
Nadine Lustre has had enough
YES MISS NADINE DRAG JOBERT SUCALDITO BY THE NECK pic.twitter.com/iKDPiN7Iha
— ً (@livelikepotter) July 1, 2020
Since Sucaldito’s appearance at the hearing, the issue has once again been dragged back to the spotlight but it’s still blindingly clear who was in the right and who was in the wrong.
Nadine Lustre could not bear hearing Sucaldito air his misplaced sentiments about being “illegally dismissed.” She took to Instagram to say a few choice words. “Kahit pagbali-baliktarin mo, mali yung sinabi mo. Inalis ka sa trabaho dahil MALI YUNG SINABI MO,” she wrote.
Making jokes about the state of someone’s mental health belittles what they’re going through
And therein lies the issue that, unfortunately, the majority of us still struggle with. Allow us to reiterate: it’s never okay to use someone’s mental health against them. There will never be a situation that could justify making jokes out of someone else’s mental health and encouraging them to end their lives.
The Philippines is struggling with the stigma that surrounds this important issue. In 2012 data, the Department of Health has revealed that the Philippines has the highest number of citizens suffering from depressive disorders in Southeast Asia: about 3.3 million. Mental health illness is not a made-up thing and the reason why those who suffer from it hide it is because of the reactions they receive.
Those how are suffering from mental illness need to be heard and understood, never laughed at nor told jokes about jumping from buildings.
It’s a matter that should be handled with sensitivity
It’s appalling how this has become a case of the artist vs. the media when it should have been a battle between what’s right and what’s wrong. Deni Bernardo, the lifestyle & entertainment editor for PhilStar.com, subtweeted Nadine. It was prompted by another of the actress’ Instagram stories calling out Philippine Star for making matters about the issue worse (publishing Ricky Lo’s article).
— miz karl #MassTestingNow (@kbomolina) July 1, 2020
That being said, netizens should correct, not bully
It’s counterproductive to be preaching about guarding other people’s mental health while simultaneously bullying the other side down with uncalled-for remarks. What Sucaldito said was not right but that doesn’t mean that netizens should hurl abuse at him.
There are plenty of chances to learn about mental health
There is a need to address the stigma surrounding mental health and we can all do our part. We could turn our homes into safe spaces and encourage our family members to openly discuss mental health matters. We could regularly check up on our friends. We could read books; watch documentaries. It’s not enough to simply let ourselves grow older without evolving as a person.
Stay classy, Nadine!
We got your back, Nadine! 💯
— H&M Philippines (@hmphilippines) July 1, 2020
No, we are not putting Nadine Lustre on a pedestal as a saint, we are simply in awe at her guts to speak out. While Nadine is far from perfect (none of us are), at least she knows when to put people in their place and how to do it while remaining classy.
What do you think of this issue?