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On Toni Gonzaga’s Bongbong Marcos interview

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The recent interview granted by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to actress, host and celebrity vlogger Toni Gonzaga created a stir. It was also quite a revelation.

Conducted at Bongbong’s home, the interview seemed more like a casual conversation between two individuals. This interview, however, was not anything like what one usually sees on local and international television news channels.

Throughout the interview, Gonzaga asked her questions spontaneously, and in logical sequence, without consulting any visible notes.

Many seasoned broadcast journalists on local TV look like amateurs compared to her. From the way she managed the interview, Gonzaga obviously did her homework — something many of today’s TV interviewers often neglect to do.

Bongbong, in turn, comported himself like an ideal interviewee. He spoke clearly, eloquently and spontaneously. His answers were quick, straightforward and candid. There was hardly any instance of stuttering.

By the way he answered questions about his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong knew what he was talking about, and that he had nothing to hide. At no point in the interview was Bongbong defensive. Bongbong simply said that his father did what a leader of his dad’s stature and competence was expected to do.

Bongbong’s recollection of the 1986 EDSA Revolution that led to the ouster of his father from office was the poignant part of the interview. Without showing any resentment against those responsible for or who participated in that political upheaval, Bongbong revealed what his father told him about the event that cost him the presidency — “I have spent my whole life defending Filipinos. I cannot hurt them now.”

Indeed, the EDSA Revolution was bloodless precisely because President Marcos refused to use force against his own people. That fact is conveniently lost on the supporters of the late mother and son presidents, Corazon and Noynoy Aquino, their propagandists in the so-called yellow army, and the Liberal Party.

Bongbong got emotional and wiped away some tears when he recalled how his father passed away in Hawaii. That segment of the interview made many viewers weep.

Despite what happened in 1986, Bongbong praised the Filipino people. He called them resilient, tough, resourceful, helpful and good natured, a people who can still find humor even during times of great difficulty. Not a single iota of hate for anybody could be felt or discerned from his narrative.

Although he cited some of the many accomplishments of his father, Bongbong did not linger in the past. He concluded the interview by emphasizing that the Philippines must prepare for a reemerging post-pandemic economy, and that the government must help the business community recover.

That discourse will remain as one of the most memorable interviews in contemporary times. Online surveys confirm the immense public approval for the interview. As mentioned earlier, many admitted to shedding tears while watching it.

One cannot help but compare Bongbong’s interview with those of Vice President Leni Robredo. Despite her consuming desire to look and sound like an intellectual, Robredo stutters, can’t speak in straight English, and always smirks when interviewed on TV.

Anti-Marcos groups blasted Gonzaga for interviewing Bongbong. Agitators labelled her as a Marcos sympathizer and called her biased because Bongbong is her wedding godfather.

The unfounded attacks against Gonzaga were so vicious that many netizens defended her in cyberspace. They stressed there is nothing in the interview that should be taken against either Gonzaga or Bongbong.

A famous radio-television personality, a provincial governor, and many more also defended Gonzaga. They argued she has the right to choose whom to interview in her online program, and that pro-Aquino groups opposed to the interview are behaving like censors in a dictatorship.

The interview showed to the Filipino people the Bongbong Marcos they need to know. Its aftermath reveals that anti-Marcos elements and their yellow army will not tolerate any online interview that is not to their liking.

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