MANILA - Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will not join any presidential debate or forum if the aim of the events is to pit candidates against one another, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said Filipinos are tired of seeing candidates fight each other, and there were bigger issues facing the country like joblessness.
"Pagod na ang tao sa awayan. Ngayon, kung tayo maglalagay lang ng forum para mag-enjoy at makita nag-aaway sila 1,2,3,4,5 candidates, hindi po kami sasali riyan," Rodriguez said.
The spokesman added that though presidential candidates like Marcos were "applying" for the country's highest office, it did not mean that he should be fighting those who would become his bosses.
"Let your bosses or the management choose among the best, and let them decide. Hindi yung makikpag-talo tayo sa management or sa kapwa nating aplikante," Rodriguez said.
The statement came after Marcos did not appear at the Presidential Candidates' Forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) due to a conflict in schedule.
But Marcos has appeared in other interviews such as the "Bakit Ikaw? The DZRH Presidential Job Interview", a one-on-one interview with celebrity talk-show host Boy Abunda, and another interview with veteran broadcaster Korina Sanchez.
At least one political analyst has said that Marcos appeared to be following a strategy of "less talk, less mistakes", which was also similar to the strategy of former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada.
Rodriguez meanwhile denied that Marcos was avoiding certain forums and interviews.
"Lahat yan ay nagpapasuri siya subalit titignan namin kung ang direksyon lamang ay pagaway-awayin ang kandidato. I tell you now in your program hindi kami sasali dahil nirerespeto namin ang sentimiyento ng sambayanang Filipino," he said.
Earlier this week, a coalition of press freedom advocates called on all candidates in the 2022 elections to appear at forums and debates organized by media, arguing that the events helped "give a broader audience access to aspirants' plans and platforms as well as potential blindspots and problem areas that bets would do well to address."