CLAIM: Vice President Leni Robredo challenges presidential frontrunner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. to a debate to discuss his personal issues.
Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
DETAILS: Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), a media company owned by embattled Apollo Quiboloy’s Kingdom of Jesus Christ, published a report last April 29 with the headline “Robredo, hinamon si BBM sa isang debate.”
The story featured Robredo’s challenge to her fellow presidential aspirant, the former senator Bongbong and son of the late dictator, to a debate.
The third paragraph of its story claimed Robredo wanted to ask Marcos Jr. about the issues on his life through a debate.
The article lacks context.
Robredo challenged Marcos Jr. to a one-on-one debate to give people the chance to ask him about controversies and issues that had been hounding him and his family. “We owe it to the people and to our country,” she said.
In past interviews, Robredo said debates are not only an opportunity to present their platforms but a chance for Filipinos to see the true character of individuals who want to be the country’s next highest leader. She added that absence in public debates show lack of respect to the Filipino voters and a failure of leadership.
Marcos Jr is facing several issues, from his family’s reported unpaid P203 billion estate tax, his lack of clear platform and his campaign’s alleged use of disinformation that revises his late father’s administration as the “golden age” of Philippine history.
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, spokesperson of Marcos Jr., responded that no debate will happen as the senator decides to communicate his message of unity directly to the public through rallies and other means.
In March 5, during the signing of agreement with Vote Pilipinas, James Jimenez, spokesperson for the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said debates are “high-stakes event that the voting public has been fervently looking forward to, so we expect all candidates to be on deck and ready to demonstrate why they deserve our vote”.
Comelec organized the presidential debates last March 19 and April 3. Of the 10 candidates, only Marcos Jr. rejected the invitation. However, he participated in the SMNI-organized debates, not once but twice.