MANILA - President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will not have a selective policy that would "exclude dear friends from the media" from presidential briefings, his camp said on Thursday, hours after the incoming chief executive's first press conference post-proclamation was limited to 3 networks.
The press conference on Thursday morning was limited to reporters who requested for a one-on-one interview with Marcos should he win the presidency, Rodriguez said in a separate press conference.
"Ang tanging kadahilanan lamang kung bakit nagpaunlak si Pres. Bongbong Marcos, sapagkat ito yung media commitment na binigay ng aming media team sa 3 network noong kampaniya," he said.
"We did not do it na one-on-one. To be fair, pinagsabay-sabay natin yung 3 network na noon pa man ay nagpahayag ng kanilang interest," he said.
Marcos' camp earlier told reporters that his media center in Mandaluyong would be closed on May 26, but later announced that a press conference would be live streamed on the President-elect's official Facebook page.
Only reporters from GMA, Net 25, and SMNI were invited to physically attend and ask questions at the press conference on Thursday morning, Rodriguez confirmed.
Marcos answered questions about Cabinet appointments, his stance on the West Philippine Sea issue with China, his proposed solutions to high oil prices, as well as improving the country's agricultural sector.
But questions about his contempt order in the United States, which may affect his travel to several functions as President, as well as his family's P203 billion estate tax debt were not raised.
The President-elect thanked SMNI boss Apollo Quiboloy, a controversial religious leader and close friend of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the preacher "was a very big part of what we are trying to do."
During the election campaign, Marcos snubbed a number of presidential debates, including those sponsored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). However, he attended fora organized by Quiboloy's network.
A joint statement by 8 media stakeholders earlier released a statement urging Marcos to “commit to protecting media freedom."
"The president-elect of the Philippines as a result of the May 9 election must ensure the protection of media freedom in the country," the joint statement reads.
"Media freedom is important to fulfill the right to information for the public, which is one of the keys to democracy," it adds.
The group, which includes the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), underscored that "Philippine media was restricted and regulated during the reign of dictator Ferdinand Marcos," the incoming President's father and namesake.
"Although restored by the 1986 ouster of Marcos, media freedom has deteriorated and the Philippines leadership of Rodrigo Duterte has seen increased attacks on journalists and independent media," it said.
The Reporters Without Borders earlier ranked the Philippines as the 147th country in terms of press freedom, the third lowest in Southeast Asia.