Journalism and communications scholar Crispin Maslog delivers his speech during the 2022 The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (Total) Awards. (Screenshot from the event's livestream)

Presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s ploy to rebrand his family’s image has just begun, journalism and communications scholar Crispin Maslog warned on May 14.

In his speech during the 2022 The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (Total) Awards, Maslog, the first Filipino journalist to obtain a doctorate degree in mass communication, said Marcos Jr.’s election victory was a product of his “army” of trolls. 

The Marcoses, he noted, tapped the political data company Cambridge Analytica to rebrand the Marcos family image in social media as early as 2014, citing former Cambridge Analytica director turned whistleblower Brittany Kaiser.

This year marks the 36th year since millions of Filipinos gathered on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) to oust the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and restore democracy in the Philippines.

“I must say that it pains me to see another Marcos as the next president of the Philippines. It seems like only yesterday in 1986 when my wife and I, with our two young children, rallied at EDSA and kicked the older Marcos out of the country,” said Maslog.

“There are lessons to be learned, certainly. Some say that we did not treasure the lessons of EDSA enough and that EDSA was a failure,” he added.

Maslog said the Marcos trolls and their huge social media reach have led to the erasure of the country’s dark experience during Martial Law and the exaggeration of the late dictator’s achievements.

Marcos and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, led the partial and unofficial tally of votes in the presidential and vice-presidential races. Both of them obtained over 31 million votes.

Trailing them were Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo with 14.8 million votes and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, with 9.2 million votes.

‘Magnificent VP Leni rallies’

In his speech, Maslog acknowledged the volunteerism that arose during Robredo’s campaign rallies.

“It was a volunteer-driven campaign that brought hundreds of thousands of pink-clad supporters,” Maslog said.

The scholar also mentioned the parallelisms between the time of former president Corazon Aquino in 1986.

“Both women were widows, both were running against a Marcos and both inspired volunteerism. Unfortunately, the parallelism ends there. Corazon Aquino won, and Leni did not,” said Maslog. “Is it true that the impressive rallies did not cascade enough votes to sweep VP Leni to power? We’re left in shock asking why.”

Maslog is one of the 10 recipients of the Total Award this year. He was cited under the media and entertainment category.

The Total Award is the highest honor bestowed by the University upon its alumni in recognition of their “significant and exemplary contribution” to society and the Church.

Maslog obtained his journalism degree from the University in 1956 and is a former Varsitarian news editor. He earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in the United States in 1967.

Maslog worked in several publications including the Agence France-Press, Negros Express, the Philippines Herald, the Manila Times, the Philippine Free Press, and the Philippine Graphic.

He founded Silliman University’s journalism school and became senior vice president and dean of the graduate school of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication. 

He also became a professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and taught journalism and development communication.

Maslog is the chairman of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre.


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