MANILA, Philippines – The social media came awash with unsavory remarks on Friday as they assailed a National Press Club (NPC) officer who introduced and repeatedly addressed former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as “Vice President” and “real VP winner” in the 2016 national elections when the latter guested at its very first media forum for the year recently.
“Our visitor no longer needs an introduction,” said NPC vice president Paul Gutierrez as he introduced BBM at the start of NPC’s initial Meet the Press forum for 2020.
“Because of the ‘magic’ that happened in the previous election … we all probably know that means, that he should be the sitting Vice President of the country, one position away from the position achieved by her (sic) father,” Gutierrez was quoted as saying by one media outlet.
At present the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is currently hearing a protest filed by the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo, who won against him by more than 200,000 votes.
“The poll protest has been ongoing, three areas identified for recount by Bongbong Marcos and in those three areas he still lost. You’re the National Press Club, use words like, ‘VP candidate presently protesting.’ Lots of ways not be charged with untruth,” said one social media activist Gang Capati on his Twitter account.
The NPC VP also pointed out that “if not for the intervention of Marcos’ father, the NPC building, where the forum was held, would have been repossessed by the Government Service Insurance System in 1977.”
Gutierrez’s remarks also got the ire of some media practitioners.
“So we have a journalist, mover and shaker of the National Press Club, ignoring the fact that there is absolutely nothing to back his claim … not in the courts, not anywhere…,” said Inday Varona-Espina, contributing writer and editor at ABS-CBN on her Facebook post.
“Gutierrez together with Bongbong Marcos could be held in contempt by the Supreme Court since Bongbong’s election case is ongoing,” added writer, blogger Rappler CEO Raissa Robles on her Twitter account.
In defense, Gutierres posted on Facebook post saying “the NPC (officers) are “fully aware” of the protest that would establish who was the “real winner” of the vice presidential race and that “like everyone else, we fully respect that process.”
He said people should not be “too malicious” in interpreting his repeated address to Marcos as the country’s “real” vice president to be an official endorsement by the NPC.
“My repeated address to former Senator Marcos during his press conference has, for some weird reason, been interpreted as an ‘official endorsement’ by the NPC of Sen. Bongbong as the country’s ‘real’ vice president. This is farthest from the truth as the NPC remains an apolitical media organization,” he said.
Gutierrez further explained calling Marcos “VP” was “simply a show of basic courtesy to him, as visitor to the NPC, a courtesy we extend to any politician or candidate seeking an office and whom we also address based on the position he/she is seeking.”
“In common media language, we call this ‘tsitsaron’ (to ‘tickle) to put the mind of our guests at ease; I believed that the majority of those present readily acknowledges this and never put any malice on it. In other words, had Ms. Robredo been our guest at the NPC, she would also be addressed as ‘VP’, he explained.
“Let us not be too malicious,” he added.
During the course of his NPC guesting, the former senator reiterated “there was electoral fraud in the Vice Presidential race and has questioned Robredo’s 263,000 vote-lead. The results of the revision in the three pilot provinces of Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Camarines Sur increased her lead by 15,000.
For her part, Robredo said the PET should either immediately dismiss the protest or require Marcos to present evidence to justify a technical examination of the ballots that he was seeking.
At the forum, where he confirmed his intention to run in the 2022 national elections, Marcos lamented the slow pace of the protest. He said no previous protest reached the same stage like his so people should be patient as the PET performed its task. (JGo/Currentph.com)