After presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declined to attend an interview hosted by television anchor Jessica Soho, his spokesperson on Saturday said the broadcast journalist was “biased” against the Marcoses.
“The reason why Bongbong Marcos decided not to join the Jessica Soho show Marcos…is founded on our belief that the hostess of [the] said popular talk show is biased against the Marcoses,” said Vic Rodriguez in a statement.
He said the Marcos camp believes that Soho will focus on “negativity” about the former senator.
“We believe her questions will just focus on negativity about BBM which the UniTeam dislike and will not subscribe as it hopes that the discourse in any forum about this upcoming elections must focus on how the aspiring presidents will solve our country’s lingering problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and what their plans are for our country to roll up from economic stagnation,” Rodriguez said.
“Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos’ duty is to the Filipino people and not to a particular TV show or program host. We will continue with our way of communicating directly to the people in so many equally significant shows, platforms, and forums where all the attendees are allowed to present their visions, plans, and platforms freely, unfiltered and unhindered by any biases.
News and entertainment network GMA-7 took exception to the claim of the camp of Marcos.
“Throughout her career, Ms. Soho has consistently been named the most trusted media personality in the Philippines by both local and foreign organizations, a testament to her embodying the GMA News and Public Affairs ethos: ‘Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo Lamang,’” the network said in a statement.
“In this must-see special, Ms. Soho boldly asks the presidential aspirants the questions that need to be asked – their intentions behind running for the position, the controversies thrown at them, their stand on pressing issues and their concrete plans should they be elected.
The questions are tough because the job of the presidency is tough.”
Meanwhile, labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman and his supporters expressed disappointment that they were not invited to the interview, which only rounded up the top five presidential candidates based on recent surveys.
“I was not invited,” said De Guzman, who presented his platform of government via Facebook Live ahead of Soho’s show.
For Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez, while national candidates are not mandated to participate in debates, it would be better if they do so.
“Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates should commit, to the public whose votes they seek, that they will participate in the #PiliPinasDebates2022,” Jimenez said on his Twitter account Saturday.
The poll body is set to hold three presidential and vice-presidential debates in February, March, and April.
As this developed, Twitter has suspended hundreds of accounts reportedly linked to supporters of Marcos, which the social media giant said had violated its rules on manipulation and spam.
More than 300 accounts had been removed “for violating our platform manipulation and spam policy,” Twitter said in a statement sent to AFP Saturday.
Filipinos are among the world’s heaviest users of social media and the country has become a key battleground for fake news.
“With the Philippine elections taking place this May, we remain vigilant about identifying and eliminating suspected information campaigns targeting election conversations,” Twitter said.
Rodriguez said there was “no certainty” that all the suspended accounts belonged to supporters of the presidential hopeful. With AFP