Ex-journalist Legarda sees 'very robust democracy' under Marcos admin

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 13) — Senatorial bet Loren Legarda, a former journalist, sees a "very robust democracy" under the presidency of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday, Legarda was asked how she sees journalists operating under the next administration, amid complaints from reporters covering Marcos' campaign that he has been inaccessible, especially to those not seen as friendly to his camp.

"We thrive in a democracy and I can see a very robust democracy," said Legarda, who is among the senatorial bets leading in the poll body's partial, unofficial count.

"I was in media for 20 years, I’ve been a senator since 1998. And I know it cannot be perfect in every administration," she added. "I would urge you as members of the media to report in the most responsible manner and in the most comprehensive manner as well."

She was sought for her opinion on the future of ABS-CBN, her former broadcast network, after it failed to get another 25-year franchise under the current administration. She only urged the public to wait until it gets a new set of frequencies, since its previous frequencies were already awarded to other media entities.

Legarda was also asked for a reaction on Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez snubbing a Rappler reporter's question at a recent live press briefing — a move which many described as a "red flag for press freedom."

But the veteran lawmaker — who is part of Marcos' UniTeam slate — only said that she cannot answer for a spokesperson of a presidential candidate.

Legarda was then asked if she will hold the line and be an ally of the media in demanding transparency from the next administration. She said that she is not just an ally of one sector.

"Galing ako sa hanay ninyo. Ako’y naging (I came from the same industry. I became a) producer, anchor, reporter and many things. I continue to do documentaries in the advocacies and all the work that I do," she said. "Yes I am an ally, I am an ally of the Filipino people."

In a briefing earlier this week, Rappler reporter Lian Buan asked Rodriguez whether Marcos had found a way to face the contempt order against him in the United States. She also asked whether the apparent presidential race winner will revoke President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 319 that declared September 21 — the day the elder Marcos imposed martial law — as a National Day of Protest.

Rodriguez repeatedly ignored her.

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

The younger Marcos is just one step away from retaking Malacañang, with over 31 million votes in the partial and unofficial tally of the Comelec transparency server. His archrival Vice President Leni Robredo is only a far second, garnering more than 14 million votes.

Apart from having amassed billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth, the Marcos regime is responsible for over 11,000 people who fell victim to summary execution, torture, and other human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. Amnesty International estimates some 70,000 were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured.

Many journalists were also arrested and detained under martial law. Newspapers, TV and radio stations were also closed down, except for those that were controlled by the regime.