Left scores ‘class bias’ in TV forum, hits Marcos snub
MANILA, Philippines—Laban ng Masa political party on Saturday protested the exclusion of its presidential candidate, labor leader Leody de Guzman, from the presidential interviews hosted by the country’s leading networks.
“They have chosen only candidates polling in the Top 5, but this ensures that working-class Filipinos have no chance of becoming president … [His] only chance of polling in the Top 5—the only chance of working-class Filipinos who dare to run for office—depends on media coverage,” the party said in a statement.
Former Rep. Walden Bello, De Guzman’s running mate, said in a separate statement that presidential interviews featuring only the top-rating candidates were tainted with “class bias,” describing them as “stage[d] love fests among the rich and powerful” and “a tragedy for the media and for democracy.”
Bello also expressed disappointment at the other candidates who were invited and did show up, saying, “The first thing they should have done when they learned he was being excluded was to show solidarity with his right to be there and refuse to participate unless he was also included.”
The party claimed that De Guzman was not polling in the Top 5 for one reason: “Without billionaire funding, he cannot afford as many ads as other candidates supported by billionaires. Even if Ka Leody’s message resonates with those who get to know him, he is still unknown to many.”
“If the media only covers candidates supported by billionaires, then working-class Filipinos have no chance at all. By keeping him out of sight, they keep his ratings low. Our elections will continue to belong to the rich and powerful. That is not democracy,” the party said.
At the same time, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas slammed as “a clear act of cowardice” the absence of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. during the presidential interviews.
“Spoken like a true son of a dictator, Marcos Jr.’s attack on veteran [journalist] Jessica Soho’s credibility is a clear act of cowardice and a sneak peak on how bad he will treat the media if he wins the presidency,” Brosas said in a statement.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite also questioned Marcos’ absence, saying the son of the dictator could not “live forever in an echo chamber where he chooses his own audience.”
“How [can] you expect Marcos to defend and fight for us if he cannot face, defend and explain himself to Jessica Soho?” he asked.
Bayan Muna chair and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares also warned the public against candidates who refuse to be interviewed by journalists.
“A journalist’s job is not to make her subject look good. It is to show and tell the truth …,” Colmenares said on Twitter. INQ
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