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For the dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to talk about the atrocities and corruption during his father’s military rule is a waste of time. Any journalist who would insist on talking about it now is nothing but a biased anti-Marcos, no matter how many Peabody awards she’s won.
“I know [she’s anti-Marcos] because of the treatment we received at her hands,” Marcos Jr. said on One PH’s Sa Totoo Lang Monday night, January 24, referring to veteran journalist Jessica Soho whose presidential interviews Marcos snubbed because the journalist is supposedly biased.
On competing network three days later, Marcos Jr. was asked by anchor Maricel Halili what the meaning of bias is, and the presidential aspirant said: “Anti-Marcos.”
“Ganoon na naman magiging usapan. Wala nang silbi ‘yun’ hindi naman magbabago ‘yung opinyon ko. Mukhang maliwanag hindi magbabago ang opinyon niya, so hindi namin mapapag-usapan ‘yung importante para sa akin na mapag-usapan, kung ano ang gagawin natin, anong program of government,” Marcos Jr. said.
(It’s the same topic we’re going to talk about, and that’s a waste of time, because my opinion will not change, and it seems it’s clear hers will not also, so we can’t talk about the important things I want to talk about, like program of government.)
The topic he was referring to are the human rights abuses of his father and his agents, and ill-gotten wealth amassed by his family and their cronies. Marcos Jr. actually figures in several of these cases, and a contempt order in the United States he’s evading until now names him as having settled with the Philippine government in the 90s to split their assets in exchange of exoneration.
Marcos Jr. said these are “35-year-old issues and already decided.”
On the contrary, they’re not all decided yet. Several civil cases remain pending with the Sandiganbayan, and they are worth P125 billion – an amount that still needs to be recovered to fund programs like agrarian reform. The most recent case was in fact decided against the Marcoses – bank certificates worth P1.6 billion that the government wants San Miguel to return. San Miguel had been judged by the Supreme Court as a vessel of P71 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth because those shares were bought using taxes collected from coconut farmers during the Marcos administration.
For the criminal aspect, Marcos’ mother Imelda is a graft convict for maintaining illegal Swiss firms – from which heand his sisters Imee and Irene had benefitted from, based to court records. Imelda is appealing her conviction.
But for Marcos: “What questions are going to be asked that have not been asked, and how many answers do you have to give that have not been given before? Nothing’s going to change, so why are we doing this?”
The one in charge of recovering Marcos ill-gotten wealth is the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) which came under threat of being abolished under President Rodrigo Duterte. Will he abolish it once he becomes president?
Marcos said: “To be candid with you, I don’t know. I had not thought about it.”
Marcos Jr. said all he wants to talk about are his platforms. The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews actually devoted the majority of its 3-hour program to talk about platforms, but Marcos said he did not watch it.
To journalists who had covered the Marcoses, this attitude is not surprising. It’s a taste of things to come should he win the presidency.
Marcos Jr. shuns any media interview where he will be asked tough questions, not only about his father’s rule, but topics concerning him, like his misrepresentations of his Oxford education, for example.
Compared to other presidential aspirants, he’s the only one who is not regularly interviewed by the reporters following his campaign. Ambush interviews of him during events are scarce; if he grants one, it’s very short.
Following the backlash of his snubbing Soho, however, Marcos Jr. went on a media blitz – with the ALC media group and OnePH on Monday; DZRH and entertainment host Boy Abunda on Tuesday, and DZBB on Friday.
As Philippine Star editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan wrote on Monday, “They can’t dodge the questions forever and control their desired narrative.”