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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

May 4, 2022

Toni Gonzaga shows us why it’s important to stand by your principles

Singer, actress, host, and producer Toni Gonzaga is a household name, having been in the entertainment industry for 20 years. In recent months, however, she has been in the limelight for another reason — her political stance.

It is unfortunate that Toni has been on the receiving end of badmouthing and hate comments from people who do not agree with her political views. It started when she interviewed former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (BBM) in her online show, Toni Talks, which has actually featured several other politicians from different political parties.

The bashing and “cancelling” went on when Toni became a regular sight in the campaign rallies of the UniTeam of BBM, who is running for president, and vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte.

She does not let the negativity affect her, though. She said she had become used to being cancelled in the two decades that she has been in showbiz. When you’ve been in the public eye for that long, you already know the difference between constructive criticism and pure negativity.

Instead of answering back, Toni maintains not only her composure but also her principles and political beliefs, which is very well within her rights.

She tells me “A quiet lion is more powerful than a barking dog. You are not responsible for the versions of you that exists in other people’s mind.”

In fact, Toni has learned to turn the negative energy into a tool to further the UniTeam’s positive campaigning. For instance, during the Las Piñas campaign rally, she stressed that unity and Filipino culture (and not cancel culture) are prevalent in the UniTeam and its supporters.

Toxicity of cancel culture

It is actually upsetting, almost sickening, for people to use the cancel card on those who do not share their views, as if they have the monopoly of knowledge and wisdom. Is it even right to cancel a person for his/her belief, especially one that is actually shared by many others?

We live in a democratic society, and if we value democracy, then we must accept that not all people have the same beliefs as ours (which is normal), and that we must afford each person the same respect that we demand for ourselves. Freedom of speech and expression is not exclusive to a certain party or affiliation, it is a right of everyone.

Toni’s tenacity is inspiring. In one interview, she gave a very powerful message about the cancel culture. She said, “No matter how many people or how many times you were cancelled by other people, what’s important is you never cancel yourself. Everybody can be against you, but you never have to be against yourself. Because that’s the biggest betrayal.”

Toni is exercising her freedom of speech and expression. She is exercising her right to have a political stand and choose the next leaders of the country.

Amid all the harsh words thrown at her, Toni has only repeatedly proven that she is one woman made of steel. She is unbothered by the criticisms thrown at her because she knows herself well, she knows what she believes in, and she is well aware of her rights as a person and as a Filipino.

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