Ka Leody warns media: Don’t expect good treatment under Marcos presidency

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2022 09:22 PM

MANILA — Presidential candidate Ka Leody de Guzman on Thursday warned media practitioners not to expect good treatment under the presidency of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

“Wala kang i-e-expect na matinong pagtrato sa media sa mga dynastic-minded. Sasagasaan niya ang anumang batas na nagbibigay proteksyon sa media at sa taumbayan,” De Guzman said during a virtual press conference organized by the Partido Lakas ng Masa, Bukluran ng Mangagagawang Pilipino and Sanlakas.

“Dahil ang mga dynastic-minded ay wala naman talagang intensyon na paunlarin ang bansang ito, paunlarin ang demokrasya. Ang mga dynasty ang pinauunlad ay yung kayamanan nila, yung kanilang patuloy na paghahari sa bansa,” he added.

The statement comes a day after Marcos’ spokesperson, Vic Rodriguez, ignored questions coming from Rappler reporter Lian Buan during a press conference at the Marcos’ headquarters in Mandaluyong.

Buan asked about a pending contempt order against Marcos at a US court, and what will happen to September 21, declared by President Rodrigo Duterte as a national day of protest in 2017.

Rodriguez did not answer Buan. "Next question," he said while completely ignoring Buan's questions.

De Guzman’s running mate, Walden Bello, said the questions were relevant and needed to be asked.

“Marami talagang kailangang tanungin ngayon. Anong mangyayari sa February 25 EDSA uprising celebration? Anong mangyayari sa September 21? Anong mangyayari sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport? Will they change that to Ferdinand Edralin Marcos International Airport? These are very serious issues at this point in time,” he said.

The EDSA Revolution in 1986 led to the ouster of Marcos' father, who was in power from December 1965. The former President imposed Martial Law on September 21, 1972 supposedly as an anti-insurgency measure, but which critics say was his way to stay in power.

The military rule, which formally ended in 1981, was marred by human rights abuses and massive corruption, issues that the Marcos family downplays. The most vocal critic of the older Marcos, the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated in August 1983 at the tarmac of Manila's main airport, for which the latter was subsequently named after the martyr.

When martial law was declared, the older Marcos' administration also shut down and sequestered media institutions.

Bello warned there “will be a great deal of management of the media that will take place” under the presidency of Bongbong Marcos.

Prior to Wednesday’s presscon, Buan was also shoved and pinned against a scaffolding while trying to interview Marcos at a campaign sortie.

Marcos has been selecting media interviews and debates. He declined all Comelec-sponsored debates and forums.

His camp had said the former senator is not attending said events if the objective is to pit candidates against each other, and if questions he had been asked before will only be repeated.

According to them, Marcos prefers to directly engage the people, apart from utilizing social media platforms.

Analysts have lamented Marcos' absence in the candidates' forums, saying that as an applicant for the country's highest position, he should be prepared to answer questions from the people.

For senatorial candidate Luke Espiritu, Marcos’ attitude towards the media during the campaign is only an indication of how members of the fourth estate will be treated in the next 6 years.

“Pag hindi sumasagot sa media, ibig sabihin, ayaw maging accountable sa public scrutiny… ’Yan ‘yung behavior ng mga tao o mga lider na magpapasara ng media, magbubusal ng bibig ng mga mediamen, mga media personnel,” said Espiritu, a lawyer.

“Kaya ingat kayo… dahil the writing is very clear. The writing is on the wall. ‘Yan ay magiging repressive na regime, yung Marcos-Duterte tandem na ‘yan. It will be repressive and contemptuous of media, of free speech, of free press,” he alleged.

Duterte, father of Duterte-Carpio, frequently targeted the media in his speeches.

During his term, ABS-CBN was denied a new broadcast franchise despite government agencies clearing the network of allegations of irregularity, while the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the registration documents of Rappler.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement Thursday that "Rodriguez's deliberate refusal to acknowledge questions from Buan at a live press briefing are a red flag for press freedom and discourse in a second Marcos presidency."

"The media community's apprehension is not without basis: it was during his father's time that newsrooms were closed down before being allowed to operate under the watchful eye of government censors," the NUJP said.

There is no reaction yet from Marcos' camp on the statements of De Guzman, Bello, and the NUJP.

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