Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has declined yet another presidential forum, this time organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) on Feb. 4, citing "conflict of schedule" as excuse.
In a statement, the KBP said it had invited the top six presidential aspirants: Leody de Guzman, Ping Lacson, Marcos Jr., Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, Manny Pacquiao, and Leni Robredo.
Everybody said yes except Marcos Jr., with the association saying the late dictator's son and namesake sent them a letter citing "prior scheduled commitments."
JUST IN: The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) announced on Thursday that the camp of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. declined the invitation to the Presidential Forum “due to prior commitments.” pic.twitter.com/9Dhfcfv1wU— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) February 3, 2022
"It will be the first time for the five presidential candidates to appear together in a live nationwide radio and television broadcast to present their qualifications and platforms of government to the people," the KBP noted.
Vic Rodriguez, Marcos Jr.'s lawyer and spokesman, confirmed him turning down the event.
"Although we have been looking forward for BBM’s participation in this event, his current schedules prevent us from accommodating your request," Rodriguez said in a statement.
"We look forward to engaging with similar KBP initiatives in the future."
KBP president Herman Basbaño also confirmed the news earlier to DZMM that Marcos Jr. declined their invitation. He also noted that they've been sending out invitations since December 2021.
“May letter naman sila declining the invitation," Basbaño said. "It was because of conflicts sa schedules nila.”
Marcos Jr. previously turned down a high-profile presidential interview, with veteran journalist Jessica Soho of GMA News.
His camp accused Soho of being "biased" against the Marcoses, claiming that her questions "will just focus on negativity about BBM." GMA has issued a statement taking exception to the Marcos Jr. camp's accusations.
After The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews, Marcos Jr. attended a number of interviews in the succeeding week.
These included the pre-recorded one-on-one interview with entertainment host Boy Abunda, live interviews with One PH and DZRH, as well as a recorded panel interview with Trixie Cruz Angeles and the ALC Media Group, which comprised CNN Philippines, DWIZ, Philippines Graphic, Business Mirror, and Pilipino Mirror.
Last Jan. 28, he was supposed to give an interview with DZBB, but wasn't able to do so citing connectivity issues while he's in Davao.
Comelec, meanwhile, has previously announced that it's holding a series of debates with presidential and vice presidential bets starting this month.
"Please look for the debates in February, fourth week, then another in March and April," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said. "One debate a month to cover the entire campaign period."
“We expect high participation from candidates when we stage the debates," he added.
The KBP 2022 Presidential Candidates Forum will air at 9:00AM, carried by member news organizations like News5, One News, CNN Philippines, ABS-CBN News, Bombo Radyo, and DZRH.
The live interview, although virtual due to COVID-19 concerns, will be moderated by ABS-CBN's Karen Davila and CNN Philippines's Rico Hizon.
The panelists will be composed of Ed Lingao of News 5, Roby Alampay of One News, Elmar Acol of Bombo Radyo, and Dan Andrew Cura of the Far East Broadcasting Company.
The KBP said its local chapters in various areas will ask questions to the candidates. The forum will be livestreamed over 300 KBP stations nationwide, as well as on various cable, satellite, and digital platforms.