So Toni Gonzaga just posted an interview with Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., the son of the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. As one might expect, many aren’t happy about her decision to give BBM a platform, and have taken to Twitter to call her out, making “Toni Gonzaga” the top trending topic today. Here’s what they’ve been saying about Toni Gonzaga’s interview with BBM.
What is the interview series about?
Toni Talks is the title of Toni Gonzaga’s vlog series on her Youtube channel where she interviews different personalities about a wide range of topics. Her interviewees have included actor Baron Geisler, singer Jake Zyrus, P-pop group SB19, vlogger couple JaMill, and more.
Under the Toni Talks title, she recently started a new subseries called “2022 The Special Series” which focuses on individuals who are potentially running as electoral candidates in 2022. Toni has interviewed the likes of Vice President Leni Robredo, Isko Moreno, and Grace Poe. Her most recent interview featured Bongbong Marcos.
Many aren’t happy
With the Marcos family’s notorious history, a lot of people are not happy with the way BBM was given a platform to “humanize” former president Marcos.
Toni Gonzaga’s interview with Bongbong was obviously an attempt to humanize and change the image of his dad. The questions and answers were framed to change Marco’s image.
Paiyak-iyak pa sa memory with his father. BUWAYA. #NeverAgain
— Ry (@RynGrsp) September 13, 2021
this isnt about her giving a platform for different political parties to be neutral, lol. inviting bongbong marcos to talk positively about his father is toni gonzaga actively participating in historical revisionism. let’s not pretend otherwise. https://t.co/uvnHJ5eCiP
— (@_kittyheals) September 13, 2021
Netizens were disappointed with the direction the subseries is going. Toni went from interviewing Chel Diokno, whose father was imprisoned during the martial law era, to interviewing BBM about the merits of his father, who was responsible for the martial law era.
Toni Gonzaga pls explain the smooth transition pic.twitter.com/So5GkySpTX
— David Escueta (@DavidEscueta) September 13, 2021
Since its posting, the video has garnered a lot of attention — positive and negative.
Some netizens theorized that this series could have been a mere strategy to give BBM a platform, with several Twitter threads analyzing the chronology of the video releases.
Toni Gonzaga is a smart woman. In order to give Bongbong Marcos a platform without looking like a supporter, she launched this series interviewing different personalities. Galing.
— ncoian (@ncoian) September 13, 2021
However, some think she’s being neutral and unbiased
One netizen believes Toni has “the most informative and unbiased content” for providing a platform for all parties in order to be “fair”. Others claim that it’s good that Toni is giving everyone a chance on her platform.
Disclaimer: I’m not a Marcos Apologist
So far, Toni Talks vlogs have the most informative and unbiased content here in the Philippines.
She’s a woman of substance and has a positive influence.
Wag niyong inaaway ang Ate Teddy ko mga makikitid ang utak! pic.twitter.com/ekYncTjWtI
— Rhomar Inocelda (@inocelda_rhomar) September 13, 2021
But others say that political neutrality isn’t a thing
In contrast, many believe that there’s no such thing as political neutrality. A netizen cited Toni’s personal connection with BBM and how it reflects her political inclinations. (BBM is her husband Paul Soriano’s godfather, and he was also the godfather at their wedding.)
And to say that it’s just being politically neutral and they’re just using their platforms to inform the public. They don’t get the fact that having no clear position at all is worse than being a DDS.
Politically neutral? WALANG GANYAN.
— Katniss EverNadine (@everNadine) September 13, 2021
Just a refresher: Bongbong Marcos turned 18 in 1975, just three years after the declaration of Martial Law. He was 28 years old when his family was ousted in 1986 and played a huge part in the Marcoses’ political machinery. At age 23, he officially launched his political career when he became Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte.
Toni Gonzaga should know the quote by a bishop:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality” https://t.co/qQX5g3RATX
— Sir P (@lanzegrabesuper) September 13, 2021
Another pointed out her choice of words when talking about Ferdinand Marcos as a president: Toni used “a lot” when referring to Marcos’ supporters, and “some” when referring to people who think he is the worst president.
“a LOT OF PEOPLE were saying …
and to SOME PEOPLE…” tangina
Toni Gonzaga is an enabler of the evil Marcoses and will always be one. Her interview with VP Leni was just a pretext after all. We’ve been taken for a ride. pic.twitter.com/AIoL17mSo1
— (@krizzy_kalerqui) September 13, 2021
The people want to ask the hard questions
People are also wondering why the interview was more focused on what BBM learned from his father. Netizens would rather have Toni ask hard questions, especially as it’s part of a special series for the 2022 elections.
Toni Gonzaga is a disappointment.
If you will interview Bongbong, do not ask him about the greatest lesson he learned from his Dad.
Ask him about the money his family stole from the country.
Ask hard questions—or don’t interview at all.
JUST DON’T BE A FENCE-SITTING SELLOUT.
— Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) September 14, 2021
‘Her channel, her rules’?
Some netizens think that since it’s her platform, Toni is free to produce that kind of content she wants, to invite the people she wants as guests, and to ask the questions she wants during an interview. A netizen even went as far as dubbing the interview’s critics as “dictator[s].”
Toni Gonzaga can interview whomever she wants.
Her channel, her rules. https://t.co/43Veakrtoo
— Cece (@MamaHopia) September 14, 2021
Toni Gonzaga launched Toni Talks and you subscribed without her telling you to do so. And now you want to filter her contents. You also want to control what her guests would answer. What are you? A dictator? Oh i forgot, y’all hate that word.
— Adriel (@stylebyadriel) September 14, 2021
However, for many people, this goes beyond “her channel, her rules.” For these netizens, Toni has a responsibility as a Filipino citizen with a huge following to properly use her platform to educate, especially because this series is about the upcoming 2022 elections, an important event that would affect not just her, but the whole nation.
The Marcoses are humans, yes. But it doesn’t save them from the immorality of their actions and abuse of power. Shedding a light on them through your huge platform gives the opportunity to use it for their own gain. And that’s where you being apolitical is useless, Toni Gonzaga. https://t.co/ALlHmTau9a
— excommunicado (@marrriyelle) September 13, 2021
If you still haven’t, please REGISTER TO VOTE
While we all continue debating the merits and demerits of giving a platform for the Marcoses, we should also remember that we can enact real change when we exercise our right to vote. That’s why — if you still haven’t done it yet — you should register to vote. There are only two weeks left before the registration period ends, and the Comelec says they won’t be extending. So make sure you’re part of the people who can bring change to our country next year.