National Press Club officer draws flak after calling Marcos Jr. ‘real VP’
Netizens on Friday were outraged at a National Press Club (NPC) officer who introduced former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at its media forum on Friday as the person who should be the country’s rightful vice president.
“Our visitor no longer needs an introduction,” said NPC vice president Paul Gutierrez at the start of the group’s first Meet the Press forum this year.
“Because of the ‘magic’ that happened in the previous election … we all probably know that means, that he should be the sitting Vice President of the country, one position away from the position achieved by her (sic) father,” he said.
The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is currently hearing a protest filed by the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo, who won against him by more than 200,000 votes.
“The poll protest has been ongoing, three areas identified for recount by Bongbong Marcos and in those three areas he still lost. You’re the National Press Club, use words like, ‘VP candidate presently protesting.’ Lots of ways not be charged with untruth,” said social media activist Gang Capati on Twitter.
Gutierrez recalled that if not for the intervention of Marcos’ father, the NPC building, where the forum was held, would have been repossessed by the Government Service Insurance System in 1977.
Several mediamen also criticized Gutierrez for his remarks.
“So we have a journalist, mover and shaker of the National Press Club, ignoring the fact that there is absolutely nothing to back his claim … not in the courts, not anywhere…,” Inday Varona-Espina, contributing writer and editor at ABS-CBN, said in a Facebook post.
“Gutierrez together with Bongbong Marcos could be held in contempt by the Supreme Court since Bongbong’s election case is ongoing,” added writer and blogger Raissa Robles on Twitter.
In a Facebook post, Gutierrez said he and the NPC are “fully aware” of the protest that would establish who was the “real winner” of the vice presidential race and that “like everyone else, we fully respect that process.”
He said people should not be “too malicious” in interpreting his repeated address to Marcos as the country’s “real” vice president to be an official endorsement by the NPC.
“My repeated address to former Senator Marcos during his press conference has, for some weird reason, been interpreted as an ‘official endorsement’ by the NPC of Sen. Bongbong as the country’s ‘real’ vice president. This is farthest from the truth as the NPC remains an apolitical media organization,” he said.
He said calling Marcos “VP” was “simply a show of basic courtesy to him, as visitor to the NPC, a courtesy we extend to any politician or candidate seeking an office and whom we also address based on the position he/she is seeking.”
“In common media language, we call this ‘tsitsaron’ (to ‘tickle) to put the mind of our guests at ease; I believed that the majority of those present readily acknowledges this and never put any malice on it. In other words, had Ms. Robredo been our guest at the NPC, she would also be addressed as ‘VP’, he explained.
“Let us not be too malicious,” he added.
The former senator has been claiming that there was electoral fraud in the vice presidential raice and has questioned Robredo’s 263,000 vote-lead. The results of the revision in the three pilot provinces of Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Camarines Sur increased her lead by 15,000.
Robredo said the PET should either immediately dismiss the protest or require Marcos to present evidence to justify a technical examination of the ballots that he was seeking.
At the forum, Marcos lamented the slow pace of the protest. He said no previous protest reached the same stage like his so people should be patient as the PET performed its task.
He also disclosed plans to run for national office in the coming 2022 elections, but did not say what position.
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