“Ikaw na ba?,” a program on dzBB (GMA 7’s flagship AM radio station) featuring interviews with the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial candidates, will kick off today, January 24. This is also on simultaneous broadcast over GTV. This special radio and TV program, which forms part of GMA Network’s comprehensive election coverage dubbed “Eleksiyon 2022,” will feature one-on-one interviews with the candidates.

This program used to be hosted by veteran radio and TV personality Mike Enriquez. But since he is on medical leave, another radio veteran and dzBB senior anchor, Melo Del Prado with TV host Cathy San Gabriel will host the one-hour program with the participation of all Radyo GMA (RGMA) provincial stations nationwide. This will be aired here over dySS Super Radyo Cebu (999 khz) from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. I will participate in the interview as Cebu’s anchor.

“Ikaw na ba?” will provide voters another venue that will help them decide who among the candidates will deliver a more important economic performance. For this week’s schedule, all the presidential candidates will appear live on the show. Next week, it will be all the vice presidential candidates, followed by all senatorial candidates. In the hot seat today is Partido Reporma’ presidential candidate Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

Listen to Lacson‘s answers to my questions about his no-nonsense campaign against criminality and graft and corruption and how he would solve the insurgency problem once elected. Lacson was an adopted son of Cebu City when he was assigned here as Metrodiscom Commander in his PC/INP days. He wanted a high level campaign this election so that the voters will understand the issues better.

Vice President Leni Robrero, Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno already confirmed their attendance on their respective days. Even Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who declined an earlier interview with GMA 7’s veteran broadcaster Jessica Soho for “The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews” aired Saturday night, confirmed his attendance on his schedule, which is on Friday.

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Bongbong and his handlers miscalculated their move by declining to join the Presidential Interviews hosted by Soho and accusing the lady broadcaster of being biased. In a statement, Marcos Jr.’s camp said his decision not to the join the show is “founded on the belief that the hostess of the popular talk show is biased against the Marcoses, and therefore, we believe her questions will just focus on negativity against Bongbong which the UniTeam dislike and will not subscribe as it hopes that the discourse in any forum about this coming elections must focus on how the aspiring presidents will solve our country’s lingering problems.”

But Soho, in a statement released by GMA 7, countered that she is not biased. She asked tough questions because the President’s job is tough. Soho, a pillar of the GMA 7’s News and Public Affairs, has been in the industry for several decades and is a locally and internationally awarded broadcast journalist.

Soho might have featured an unfavorable story on Bongbong before but she did not show her biases on that show. That is a common perception of some politicians and their supporters on media bias. If a mediaman or a media outlet will report something negative about a particular politician, they will conclude that mediaman/media outlet is biased. And if a mediaman or media outlet reports positively about a politician, they will accuse that personality/media orgnization as a “paid hack.”

“Media bias” is the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of many events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective on an individual journalist or article.

As ordinary human beings, we have our own biases. But we will not show these biases in our profession. If Soho showed her bias during the interview, then by all means Bongbong could react right there or demand a “write to reply.” But in fairness, Soho handled the show well. What’s the big fuss?