MANILA—Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr's absence at a major presidential forum hosted by the country's association of broadcasters was a disservice to the Philippines, a political analyst said Friday.
Lawyer and former dean of Ateneo de Manila School of Government Tony La Viña said the presidential aspirant missed the opportunity to present his plan for the May 9, 2022 elections.
"Well, he missed showing the best part, the best face of his campaign, of his candidacy," he told ANC's "Dateline".
"... And more importantly, he did a very big disservice to the country because it's important for us to be able to compare the candidates on what they stand for, on their demeanor. More than what he missed, the country was done a disservice by his not coming here."
La Viña noted that the 5 presidential hopefuls who joined the KBP forum— labor leader Leody de Guzman, Sen. Ping Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo—"came out quite well" despite being asked tough questions by a panel of journalists.
The camp of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer had said Marcos declined attending the "Panata sa Bayan: The KBP Presidential Candidates Forum" due to a conflict in schedule.
This is not the first time that the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos skipped a forum ahead of the upcoming polls.
On Friday, his official Instagram page posted a video showing the candidate being interviewed by veteran journalist Korina Sanchez. It was not clear though whether the clip was taken on the same day as the KBP forum.
Marcos, 64, is facing a possibility of disqualification, stemming from his previous conviction of tax evasion. The ruling on the petitions for disqualification are still pending before the poll body's first division.
In comparison, La Viña said Robredo made the forum a "priority" despite suffering from poor Internet connection.
"Let's not exaggerate the technical glitches that happened. It happens to everyone, even the most well-prepared," he said.
On Facebook, Robredo wrote that she borrowed an office at the airport to attend the forum before flying to areas affected by Typhoon Odette.
"I apologize for the bad connectivity during the forum. The fault is all mine. Our team tried hard to convince me to cancel all other engagements today, pero pinilit ko pa din hanapan ng paraan to fulfill all our commitments, dahil alam kong naghihintay rin yung mga communities na pupuntahan namin para maihatid yung tulong na pabahay bago magstart ang campaign period," she said.