By Neil Arwin Mercado | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. thanked Thursday TV personality Toni Gonzaga for hosting his proclamation rally at The Philippine Arena earlier this week.
Gonzaga has come under fire for supporting the presidential bid of the son of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos. Critics have questioned Gonzaga’s decision to support Marcos Jr. and his attempt to bring the Marcoses back to the Palace despite the human rights abuses committed during the Martial Law period.
“Taos pusong pasasalamat kay Toni Gonzaga-Soriano sa pagiging host ng UniTeam Proclamation Rally (Our heartfelt thanks to Toni Gonzaga for hosting the Uniteam Proclamation Rally),” Marcos Jr. said in a Facebook post.
“Isang makasaysayang gabi na hindi namin malilimutan ni Mayor Inday Sara kapiling ang aming mga tagasuporta, pamilya, kaibigan at mga nanindigan para sa ating samahan ng pagkakaisa – gaya mo Toni,” he added.
(Mayor Inday Sara and I cannot forget a historic night together with our supporters, family, friends, and those who stood for our call for unity—like you Toni.)
In an Instagram story posted Thursday, Gonzaga responded to Marcos Jr. saying “You’re welcome, my President [Bongbong Marcos].”
At one point during the proclamation rally of Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, Gonzaga declared: “Tapos na! May nanalo na!”
Gonzaga also introduced senatorial candidate, House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, who is a part of the Marcos-Duterte senatorial slate and was a lead figure in opposing the franchise renewal of media giant ABS-CBN.
ABS-CBN, Gonzaga’s home network, was shut down in 2020 after it failed to secure a franchise from the House committee on legislative franchises.
Gonzaga’s critics included Dawn Chang, an alumna of ABS-CBN reality show “Pinoy Big Brother”, which Gonzaga previously hosts.
“Paano niyo po nasikmurang suportahan at tulungan ang mga taong may malupit na nakaraan sa kasaysayan ng bansa at sa pagkawala ng trabaho ng mga kasama natin sa industriya? As a former PBB housemate, alam kong magtatampo niyan si Kuya,” Chang said.
(How can support and help people with a cruel past in the country’s history and the unemployment of our colleagues in the industry? As a former PBB housemate, I know that Big Brother would be disappointed.)
In light of criticisms she received following the proclamation rally, Gonzaga announced her resignation as one of the main hosts of “Pinoy Big Brother,” after hosting the show for the past 16 years.