Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. would be a no-show in GMA Network's interview with presidential candidates regarding their stance on national issues, as its host, veteran journalist Jessica Soho, is "biased against the Marcoses," his lawyer and spokesman said on Jan. 22.
“The reason why Bongbong Marcos decided not to join the Jessica Soho show is founded on our belief that the hostess of said popular talk show is biased against the Marcoses,” Atty. Vic Rodriguez said in a statement. “Therefore, we believe her questions will just focus on negativity about BBM."
Rodriguez, however, acknowledged that the May polls could be the “most important elections in our lifetime” where candidates, including Marcos Jr., should be expected to present their programs for the country to move forward.
Aspiring presidents, Rodriguez said, are expected to solve the country's "lingering problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and what their plans are for our country to roll up from economic stagnation."
With that, he said the Marcos Jr. camp would rather continue its "way of communicating direct to the people" in "so many equally significant shows, platforms, and forums," where they can present their visions, plans and platforms "freely, unfiltered and unhindered by any biases.”
"These and other equally important aspects of an aspirant's preparedness to lead, ability to govern, and capability to be president," Marcos Jr.'s lawyer said, "cannot be tested by his mere appearance on a show that has been perceived by us and our supporters as having previously displayed a preconceived judgement against the Marcoses."
Hours after that, GMA Network responded to the Marcos Jr. camp, saying that it takes exception to the camp's statement that "Kapuso news pillar" Soho is supposedly biased against the Marcoses.
"Throughout her career, Ms. Soho has consistently been named the most trusted media personality in the Philippines by both local and foreign organizations," the network said in a statement Jan. 22, adding that it's "a testament to her embodying the GMA News and Public Affairs ethos: 'Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo Lamang.'"
The Kapuso network took note how it's "unfortunate" that Marcos Jr. chose to decline its invitation, when four other presidential hopefuls Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Ping Lacson, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao "have chosen to participate and take the opportunity to explain their advocacies to the public."
"We believe that this is an important exercise to inform the public about the candidates seeking their votes in Eleksyon 2022," GMA said, "to help them make the best, most informed choice on their ballots."
The Kapuso network reiterated that it invited the five leading presidential candidates in pre-election surveys—with Soho "boldly asking questions that need to be asked"—to know "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," GMA said.
Marcos Jr., though he declined to sit down with Sotto, was present in the video teaser dated Jan. 14.
The late dictator's son and namesake, meanwhile, agreed to hold a one-on-one interview with Boy Abunda in his own series of presidential candidate interviews. In "The 2022 Presidential One-On-One Interviews with Boy Abunda," Abunda is expected "to grill each of the five presidential candidates on no-holds-barred questions about their positions and perspectives on the various issues confronting the country today."
"The 2022 Presidential One-On-One Interviews with Boy Abunda" will be available on Jan. 24 to 28, on The Boy Abunda Talk Channel on YouTube and Kapamilya Channel.
The week-long special, presented by ABS-CBN and E.R.A., will feature Lacson (Jan. 24), Marcos Jr. (Jan. 25), Robredo (Jan. 26), Domagoso (Jan. 27), and Pacquiao (Jan. 28).
"The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews," meanwhile, will be aired on GMA-7 Saturday night (Jan. 22), at 6:15PM.
It will also be available on eleksyon2022.ph, as well as GMA News Online and GMA Public Affairs' social media accounts.