Media-shy Marcos puzzled that press has difficulty interviewing him

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Media-shy Marcos puzzled that press has difficulty interviewing him
Broadcast journalist Erwin Tulfo and acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar interview presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for the "The Chatroom" show.
Facebook / Erwin Tulfo

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 11:10 a.m.) — It is a puzzle for presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. why people are saying it is difficult to get to interview him.

Marcos, whose media bureau accredits journalists allowed to cover him and disseminates campaign information to just a few, has been criticized for being selective with his media engagements.

"I don't know kung saan sinasabing that mahirap ako i-ambush interview. I'm always out in public," he said in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines.

He also said that he has other campaign activities planned when he is out.

"Ako, palagay ko hindi ako maglalagay ng spokesman. Haharap ako sa media (I don't think I will appoint a spokesman. I will face the media)... I don't understand bakit may spokesman ang presidente. Kaya naman i-explain ng presidente kahit na ano," Marcos said of his plans if elected. 

The Palace has an Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, although the role of spokesperson has also been performed in the past by the president's press secretary.

Hours before his taped interview aired on Tuesday, Marcos held a press conference — his first for the campaign season — with members of the press in Cagayan de Oro.

At the press conference, which was streamed on Facebook, Marcos was asked about fuel prices and on prospects for peace in Muslim Mindanao. At one point in the rare press conference, a member of the media even addressed him as President Marcos.

Access on the campaign trail

While it is true that Marcos has had many public events and campaign sorties, reporters following him on the campaign trail have struggled to be able to ask him questions.

There have been a few instances when Marcos answered a few questions from the media although the setup was not always ideal.

During a March 22 sortie in Cavite, Marcos allowed a rare ambush interview on between campaign events, where he was asked for his reaction to administration PDP-Laban party giving him its endorsement.

But when asked about estate taxes that the Bureau of Internal Revenue has been trying to collect from the Marcoses, the candidate chose to walk away.

Some members of the media coverage were advised that day that Marcos would grant an ambush interview. The Philstar.com team, also accredited by the campaign's media bureau, was not told about it beforehand.

Rappler reporter Lian Buan has also posted a video of her attempt to approach Marcos and ask about so-called negative campaigning. Buan was shoved away by campaign security and staff.

A separate video posted by BBC journalist Howard Johnson shows him asking Marcos how he can be a good president if he is passing up serious interviews. In the video, the British reporter had clear access to Marcos, who slowed down to listen to the question. Marcos then laughed and walked away.

Marcos has also declined invitations to some forums organized independently by the media and even by the Commission on Elections. He has opted to attend programs hosted by SMNI Network, whose owner Apollo Quiboloy endorses his presidential bid.

Early in the campaign, Marcos turned down an invitation to appear on GMA's The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews. The Marcos campaign said at the time that it believed Soho "will just focus on negativity about BBM which the UniTeam dislike."




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