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Delia Duenas Smith
March 11, 1966
|Died||May 31, 1985 (aged 19)|
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
Pepsi Paloma (March 11, 1966 - May 31, 1985) was a Filipino-American dancer and actress in the Philippines. She was one of the popular Softdrinks Beauties introduced in the 1980s along with Sarsi Emmanuelle and Coca Nicolas. She was known for films such as Brown Emanuelle (1981), The Victim (1982), Krus sa Bawat Punglo (1982) and Room 69 (1985).
Pepsi Paloma was 14 when she entered the movie industry. She is the eldest daughter of Lydia Duenas, a native of Borac, Northern Samar, and an American letter carrier, Kenneth Smith, who deserted his family when the children were still young. A talent scout named Tita Ester brought her to Rey dela Cruz in 1980 for a possible movie role. In 1981, she made her debut in the movie Brown Emmanuelle. She was also known as one of the members of the so-called “soft drink” beauties together with Coca Nicolas and Sarsi Emmanuel.
Her acting career did not last for long as in May 31, 1985, she was found dead in her apartment, having hung herself. According to police investigation, the rape case in 1985, involving actors Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon, and comedian Richie D'Horsie, was one factor of her suicide. Other possible reasons, which were found in her diary, were monetary problems, her longing for a mother’s love, and her anxieties over her relationship with her live-in boyfriend. Her life is considered both mysterious and tragic but many believe that her sudden death has to do with the rape case in 1982. Her death took place 25 days after the death of another young actress Julie Vega who herself died before reaching the age of 20
Tito Sotto, Philippine senator and brother of Vic Sotto, said in a radio interview that he denies any involvement in the whitewashing of the rape case and alleges that the rape scandal was a gimmick by her talent manager Rey dela Cruz. Sotto said that he was not involved as a perpetrator in the rape of Paloma and he denied using his position in government to influence the court decision. Sotto became Vice Mayor in Quezon City in 1988 before elected as a Senator in 1992.
- "The Mysterious Life And Death of Pepsi Paloma". FilipiKnow. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "BOLD STARS OF THE 80s #3: THE CRUEL WORLD OF PEPSI PALOMA". March 14, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- De Jesus, Topel V. (March 3, 2016). "Tito Sotto denies whitewashing Pepsi Paloma rape case". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- "Tito Sotto: Pepsi Paloma scandal was a 'gimmick'". ABS-CBN News. March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.