Tito Sotto, born Vicente “Tito” Castelo Sotto III on August 24, 1948, in Manila, Philippines, is a highly accomplished Filipino actor, television presenter, comedian, and politician. He has made significant contributions to the Philippine entertainment industry and has enjoyed a long and successful career spanning several decades.
Tito Sotto completed his primary and secondary education at Colegio de San Juan de Letran, a prestigious Catholic school in Manila. After finishing high school, he pursued a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Commerce major in Management at the University of the East in Manila. Tito’s education laid a strong foundation for his future endeavors in both entertainment and politics.
Tito Sotto’s venture into show business began when he formed a comedic trio with his close friends, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon. Known as Tito, Vic, and Joey (TVJ), the trio quickly gained popularity for their unique brand of humor and their ability to connect with the Filipino audience. Their improvisational comedy and witty banter endeared them to fans across the country.
In the 1970s, Tito Sotto, together with TVJ, became a prominent figure in the Philippine music scene. They formed the iconic group VST & Company, which produced numerous hit songs and dominated the airwaves during that era. Their disco-infused music and energetic performances solidified their status as musical superstars.
Aside from his music career, Tito Sotto’s talent as a television presenter and host was also recognized. He played a pivotal role in the success of the noontime variety show “Eat Bulaga!” since its inception in 1979. Tito’s hosting skills, combined with his quick wit and engaging personality, contributed to the show’s enduring popularity and established him as one of the mainstays of Philippine television.
Tito Sotto’s contributions to “Eat Bulaga!” extended beyond hosting. He also co-created several segments and game shows within the program, such as “Pinoy Henyo” and “Juan for All, All for Juan,” which became audience favorites. Tito’s involvement in the show played a significant role in its continued success, making it one of the longest-running and most-watched television programs in Philippine history.
In addition to his entertainment career, Tito Sotto has made significant contributions to Philippine politics. He entered the political arena when the Cory Aquino government held local elections in 1988. Most of those who took part during the EDSA People Power Revolution were given a position in the government as Officers-in-charge appointed by Cory Aquino and his allies to immediately replace the sitting Marcos Administration employees and government officials. Among those who were given the opportunity was former president Rodrigo Duterte, who became an instant vice mayor after his mother refused to take the position, giving the opportunity to her son Rodrigo. Soledad Duterte, the activist mother of FPRRD, led the rallies in Davao during the EDSA Revolution. Rowena Guanzon was appointed as OIC mayor in Cadiz, and Jejomar Binay in Makati among others. Luis Villafuerte, the relative of Jesse Robredo, helped Jesse Robredo get a job in the government and assumed the position of Cesar Virata as director of the very important project of the Marcos administration, the Bicol River Basin. Jesse Robredo had no experience during that time. Luis Villafuerte also helped Leni Robredo, who was then a new graduate, to work at the Bicol River Basin to replace the Marcos administration employee. It was at the Bicol River Basin office where Jesse and Leni first met. All of the names mentioned above were involved in the rallies during the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
During the 1988 local elections, the rest of the people involved in EDSA ran for office and Tito Sotto was one of them. Tito is a proud Cory Boy, especially since his wife Helen Gamboa Sotto is a close relative of Ninoy Aquino, the wife of Cory Aquino. Tito Sotto composed Magkaisa”, the people power song in three days, and presented it as an oath-taking gift to former President Aquino. It was recorded by Virna Lisa and was frequently played on radio stations during Aquino’s first 100 days in government. Cory Aquino was best remembered by the songs “Magkaisa” composed by Tito Sotto and “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo composed by Jim Paredes. Bayan Ko, a revolutionary song during the Spanish Regime was covered by Freddie Aguilar and became the theme song of the activists and protesters during the Marcos Sr. administration. After the proclamation of Martial Law in 1972, the song Bayan Ko was deemed seditious, and Public performances of the song were banned, with violators facing potential arrest and detention. During the death of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, Bayan Ko became the theme song again and was played during his funeral. In the 1986 EDSA Revolution, Freddie Aguilar led the crowd in singing the revolutionary song Bayan Ko. Read more about the history of the revolutionary song Bayan Ko.
Kiko Pangilinan who was an activist during EDSA also ran as QC councilor in the 1988 local elections. In the 1992 senatorial elections, Tito Sotto ran for Senator and won. Tito’s political career spans several terms, with his most recent term beginning in 2016.
Throughout his political career, Tito Sotto has been involved in various legislative initiatives, focusing on issues such as education, health, and social welfare. He has authored and co-authored several bills and laws, including the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act and the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, which aim to address important social issues in the country.
Tito Sotto’s impact on Philippine entertainment and politics cannot be overstated. His versatile talent, quick wit, and dedication to his craft have earned him the respect and admiration of fans and colleagues alike. From his early beginnings as part of TVJ to his successful hosting career and political contributions, Tito Sotto’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring entertainers and public servants in the Philippines.