By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin
The camp of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. believes that debates that focus on political platforms, like the one held by SMNI, provide the “ideal format” for poll candidates who want to engage in a “free-flowing exchange of ideas”.
For Marcos Jr.’s camp, that kind of debate “reshapes the Philippine election debates” because it is free of the “usual free-for-all muckraking and name-calling” that “Filipino voters have grown tired of for years”.
During the debate hosted by SMNI, the broadcasting arm of Kingdom of Jesus Christ church, Marcos Jr. “eloquently discussed his platform of government,” his camp said in a statement Friday, Feb. 18. Church founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy had earlier endorsed Marcos’s presidential bid.
Marcos Jr.’s camp claimed that if other media organizations had hosted the debate, Marcos Jr.’s feat “would not be possible.”
“SMNI’s presidential debate is a stark contrast from those that often show candidates spending a large chunk of time defending themselves from personal attacks and innuendos, constantly losing their train of thought due to heckling from an unruly audience,” it said.
“Often, viewers are left dismayed and angered because they have not heard much-needed solutions to issues directly impacting their lives,” it added.
Recently, Marcos Jr.’s spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, said they are not keen on attending an event that would only engage the presidential candidates in a debate or argument.
He also said Marcos Jr. and his camp will not engage in negative campaigning, which they have stood by so far.
SMNI’s debate was sponsored, among others, by members of Marcos Jr.’s Senate slate, namely Rodante Marcoleta, Gringo Honasan, and Migz Zubiri.