Marcos spox skipping reporter's questions 'red flag for press freedom' — NUJP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) lambasted how Vic Rodriguez, spokesperson of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., ignored questions from a Rappler reporter, branding his act as "a red flag for press freedom".

In a statement Thursday, the NUJP said it stands with Rappler's Lian Buan and Rambo Talabong, and other journalists facing difficulty interviewing the UniTeam slate.

"Despite a promise of greater media access when presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. takes office, Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez's deliberate refusal to acknowledge questions from Buan at a live press briefing are a red flag for press freedom and discourse in a second Marcos presidency," it said.

"Next question," Rodriguez said when asked if the son of the late dictator had found a way to face the contempt order after a US official said that the Biden administration was willing to work with the next Philippine president.

Marcos is enjoying a massive lead against his closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo.

If he enters the US, the former senator faces the risk of being required to appear in court to explain his non-compliance to a class suit ruling against his family in favor of martial law victims. Refusal to attend could result in his detention for contempt of court.

READ: Biden, Xi congratulate Marcos, hopeful for stronger ties

Despite Rodriguez's cold shoulder, the Rappler reporter continued to press the spokesperson, asking if Marcos would revoke President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 319 that declared September 21 as a National Day of Protest -- the anniversary of the declaration of martial law. Rodriguez still ignored the question.

"The media community's apprehension is not without basis: it was during his father's time that newsrooms were closed down before being allowed to operate under the watchful eye of government censors," the NUJP said.

"We face the prospect of more restrictions with public trust in us eroded, partly by our missteps but largely because of a sustained campaign to discredit the critical press," it added.s