On Tuesday (September 13), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s interview with her goddaughter, actress Toni Gonzaga, aired on the latter’s YouTube channel, Toni Talks.
The interview will also air in the newly-launched, Villar-owned ALLTV, the media network under AMBS.
This was the first one-on-one interview Marcos did after assuming office on June 30. In the teaser, Gonzaga, wearing white, walked inside Malacañang and as the two meet, they walked together to a hall inside the palace where the interview would take place.
Here are some of the key highlights of the interview.
‘Playing a familiar role that was never played before’
Gonzaga began her interview with questions asking about Marcos’s adjustments to the presidency.
He said that he felt that he had an advantage as he had already lived in Malacañang before and that he knew his way better than his security details.
“I think it’s an advantage for me kasi parang alam ko na ito … Kung minsan nga, ‘yung security ko, nawawala dahil kung saan-saan ako dumadaan, alam ko ‘yung pasikot-sikot dito sa palasyo,” Marcos said.
(I think it’s an advantage for me because I already know this place … Sometimes, my security would lose me because I go to many places, but I know my way here.)
When asked what he feels when people call him “President Marcos,” he said that sometimes, he thinks that they’re referring to his father and not him.
“Nung umpisa, nung sinasabing ‘President Marcos,’ sa isip ko, si President Marcos, yung tatay ko yung tinutukoy nila … But I guess you just get used to it kasi nandyan ang trabaho and that’s the way the work is done,” Marcos said.
(At first, whenever they say ‘President Marcos,’ in my mind, I think they’re referring to President Marcos, my father.)
And when asked what prepared him for the presidency, his answer is the same – his father.
“It’s just watching my father. Watching what he did … it’s like going to a masterclass,” he said.
‘We lost sight, in many ways, of the national interest’
When the subject of the conversation turned to the 2022 elections, Gonzaga asked Marcos why “unity,” his ticket’s central message, resounded to so many that it gave him one of the biggest electoral victories in the history of the country.
And when she asked what divided the country, Marcos unequivocally answered: “Politics.”
“We lost sight, in many ways, of the national interest and we only talked about partisan interests,” Marcos said.
“Pinaglalaban lang natin yung sa partido ko, yung sa kandidato ko, dun sa gusto ko. Hindi na natin iniisip yung para sa Pilipinas,” Marcos added.
(We only fight for what’s good for our party, for our candidates, for us. We don’t think of the welfare of the country anymore.)
War on drugs ‘internal matter,’ but to continue in a different way
During the interview, Marcos reiterated that the war on drugs, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature policy, will continue in his administration, but in a different way.
“The war on drugs will continue but we have to do it in a different way. Until we formulate our policies, hindi pa natin masasabi (we can’t say for sure) because even as we speak, there is a working group putting together the new war on drugs,” he said.
Marcos revealed that his government is formulating ways to rehabilitate those who have been under the influence of illegal drugs, a stark contrast to his predecessor’s policy of treating it as a crime.
“Those who are already involved, we should treat them. In fact, right now, we are trying to formulate what is the latest and what is the best way for the rehabilitation,” Marcos said.
‘Does society have the right to kill its own people?’
Although he did not give a definite answer on whether the death penalty would become a possibility under his administration, Marcos said that the issue involves a practical and moral one.
“The death penalty is a tough one because there is a practical issue and a moral issue involved,” Marcos said.
“And the question is, does society have the right to kill its own people? And that’s a tough one to get around,” Marcos added.
He is also skeptical if the death penalty really does discourage the commission of crimes.
“As a practical matter, does the death penalty, actually, does it discourage people from committing heinous crimes? And I think the data, not only from the Philippines but from other countries, shows that we have to be very stringent about applying the law,” Marcos said.
‘Reopen the case and let us argue it’
When the topic of their family’s alleged tax evasion case was opened, Marcos said that he and his family would actually want for the case to be finally resolved, and for them to be given a chance to argue.
“We are actually encouraging that this is finally be resolved because I don’t want to make a legal opinion for which I am not qualified. But rather to say, that we were never allowed to argue because when this case came out we were all in the United States,” Marcos said.
“So when it was time for us to answer, we had no chance to answer,” he added.
Marcos said that he would like if given the chance, to shed light on the Marcos estate properties.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.
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