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Even as Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said that he would speak to the media directly and regularly if he were elected president, journalists are countering that he has a pattern of avoiding interviews and his camp denied free access to his first press conference during this election campaign.
In a rare TV interview that Marcos gave to CNN Philippines' In Private which aired on Tuesday (April 26), Marcos said, "Ako, palagay ko hindi ako maglalagay ng spokesman. Haharap ako sa media. I don't understand bakit may spokesman ang presidente. Kaya naman i-explain ng presidente kahit na ano eh."
(Me, I don’t think I’m going to appoint a spokesman. I will face the media. I don't understand why the president has a spokesman. The president can explain everything.)
Marcos also denied avoiding ambush interviews.
"I don’t know kung bakit sinasabing that mahirap ako i-ambush interview. I’m always out in public. Pero siyempre, we are doing something else also. I don't know why they say that because hindi naman ako pwedeng magtago. I'm always out in public," he said.
(I don't know why they are saying it's hard to get me for an ambush interview. I’m always out in public. But of course, we are also doing something else when we are in public. I don't know why they say that because I am not hiding. I'm always out in public.)
However, Rappler reported on April 27 that Marcos' campaign team limited journalists' access to the first press conference of his campaign, which was held in Cagayan de Oro on the same day the CNN interview aired.
Rappler said Marcos' press coordinator was selective and invited only junior reporters to the press conference, screening out more senior journalists, or those who were critical of Marcos. Journalists had to submit their questions to organisers one day in advance.
The press coordinator said she sent invitations to all local media outlets, but Mindanao Gold Star Daily editor-in-chief Cong Corrales refuted that. "There was no invitation whatsoever. We didn’t receive any," said Corrales.
Marcos rarely takes media interviews and has so far eschewed the presidential debates organised by COMELEC. His spokesperson Vic Rodriguez is usually the one who responds to media queries.
Rappler journalist Lian Buan tweeted a video showing Marcos repeatedly ignoring reporters during ambush interviews or walking away from interviews on his campaign trail.
"Marcos is undoubtedly and consistently hard to interview. Here's some proof on film," wrote Lian Buan.
— Lian Buan (@lianbuan) April 26, 2022
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