MANILA — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. appears to be copying former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s “absent” playbook that helped the latter win the nation’s top job more than a decade ago. two decades, a political analyst said on Friday.
This, after Marcos earlier on Friday failed to attend the “Panata sa Bayan: The KBP Presidential Candidates Forum” organized by the country’s broadcasters’ association.
Political science professor Julio Teehankee noted that the former senator, who is the frontrunner in the presidential race, skipped key presidential job interviews ahead of the May 9 election.
It is not the first time that the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos has been absent from a forum. He also declined a presidential interview with GMA Network’s Jessica Soho that aired Jan. 22, saying it was biased.
Marcos, however, participated in many other interviews such as “Bakit Ikaw? The DZRH Presidential Job Interview” and a one-on-one interview with celebrity talk show host Boy Abunda.
“What seems strange is that the main candidate keeps missing these events. It reminds me a bit of some of my students who tended to cut classes,” Teehankee told the ANC.
He said presidential betting forums or interviews can “strengthen or discredit a candidate’s narrative.” He said Camp Marcos wanted to control his narrative by relying on social media.
It could backfire on the favourite, he warned.
“This strategy can also backfire. Those who live on social media can perish on social media. Whether it’s actually a good strategy at this point to skip those interviews and forums remains to be seen,” Teehankee said.
Marcos also adheres to the adage “less talk, less mistakes; no arguments, no mistakes”, asserted the professor, who noted that the vice-president at the time, Joseph Estrada, who was the favorite in the 1998 polls, deliberately skipped debates as part of his election strategy.
“Apparently he (Marcos) is borrowing from Joseph Estrada’s 1998 playbook, who only attended, if I remember correctly, two major debates and still won a landslide victory,” Teehankee said. .
But he also recalled that late movie star and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. lost to incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections after skipping presidential debates despite leading in pre-election polls.
“It’s not a sure thing. Whether you enjoy huge popularity, it’s not certain that at the end of the game you’ll retain that popularity,” Teehankee said.
Marcos holds a double-digit lead over all rivals in early surveys by pollsters Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Marcos’ political party, said earlier that he declined to join the KBP forum due to a scheduling conflict.
Marcos’ official Instagram page posted a video showing him being interviewed by veteran journalist Korina Sanchez. It was unclear, however, if the clip was shot on the same day as the KBP forum.
Critics slammed Marcos’ absence, saying it was a disservice to the country.
Marcos, 64, faces possible disqualification, stemming from his previous conviction for failing to file his tax returns from 1982 to 1985. The decision on the consolidated motions for his disqualification is still pending before the First Chamber of Comelec .