Manila Standard : 'Nothing better than to help as many people as you can'

17 September 2021

By Erwin Tulfo | Manila Standard

"This is what BBM told Toni Gonzaga."

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., at the onset of the interview courteously thanked Toni Gonzaga for taking the trouble to feature him in her vlog “Toni Talks” recently.

BBM, as he came to be known since the Marcoses’ return to Philippine politics, must admire Gonzaga’s courage who knew the episode would create a fuss among the anti-Marcoses.

As expected, it caused trouble and quite a stir among netizens, as well as perennial critics of the late President Marcos.

This was even as BBM disclosed he is, in fact, running in the upcoming elections although he has yet to decide on which national seat to contest just yet.

He trails Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the surveys on “presidentiables” despite Inday Sara’s earlier pronouncements that she is not fascinated about succeeding her father President Duterte.

BBM therefore is deserving as well as an unavoidable subject for Gonzaga’s series on prospective candidates for the May 9, 2022 polls. After all, previous episodes featured other presidentiables including Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Grace Poe, among others.

Gonzaga aptly asked BBM how he handles critics, bashers and haters.

“We’re in political life. Find me a person in political life who has no critic, no hater or basher. You can’t find one,” BBM said.

He said that is why nobody ever won an election with one hundred percent vote, otherwise he cheated. Criticism is something the Marcoses learned to live with early on.

“If you don’t want to be criticized, don’t go into public life,” BBM went on to say, “and if you’re making your enemies angry, that means you’re doing a good job.”

Gonzaga’s interview with BBM went viral as she got bashed for “lack of depth” in her questions and the former-senator’s answers described as “historical revisionism.”

In reaction to critics, the actress-TV host turned vlogger said, “I’ve reached a point in my life where I realized that other people’s perception of me is not my responsibility anymore… I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to defend, and I have nothing to explain to anybody because I know who I am deep inside.”

Gonzaga’s vlog has its own format, niche and target audience very much like the lighthearted personality feature shows, and not your usual issue-oriented public affairs show.

Gonzaga and her team merely exercise their right to freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of thought within the paradigm in which Toni Talks is conceptualized.

BBM must likewise enjoy the same freedom of expression to answer thrown at him pertaining to Martial Law ills from 1972-1986, culminating in the peaceful departure of the Marcoses to Guam, and then Hawaii.

He recalled that despite urgings from some military generals, his father said emphatically, “I’ve spent my life defending Filipinos, I cannot hurt them now. Put your arms down.”

With the theme “The Greatest Lesson Bongbong Learned from His Father,” the segment featured BBM talking about the virtues of studying hard and helping other people.

As a kid, he only dreamed of either being an astronaut or a rockstar but the only son of the longest-lasting President who introduced the Philippines into the modern world believes he is destined to public service.

“If that’s my purpose in life, if that’s what God wants me to do, then I will continue to serve and help make the Philippines better. We need to bring back a sense of nationhood in times of the worst crisis,” BBM said.

BBM said the country needs mission-oriented leaders like his father to improve combat the Covid-19 pandemic, improve the vaccination rollout, and seek the balance between reviving the economy and implementing health safety measures.

“The best thing that you can do is to help other people, as many as you can. I can’t think of any other thing better than that,” BBM said.