When presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr. refused to be interviewed by GMA 7 top journalist Jessica Soho, I merely smiled because I felt he was merely following his handlers. A candidate who feels he is leading the surveys may refuse to join debates or, in this case, presidential interviews as these could be risky. This could be the case for a candidate like Junior who failed to inherit Senior’s intellect and gift of gab.

I didn’t see the debate between former mayor Jose Cuenco and his challenger Tomas Osmeña, who was fresh from the US and who desperately needed to be introduced to Cebuano voters. That debate was supposedly the consensus election game changer. It had the feel of Manny Pacquiao defeating Lehnoholo Ledwaba in a US boxing match. Cuenco was bloodied by the candidate with so many ideas and who talks like a machine gun.

I mean, Marcos Jr. was justified in his refusal to join the GMA 7 event and he could have just kept silent about it. I have seen footage of Junior interviewed by formidable interviewers and the nerves seem to get to him every time. We all knew of Junior’s wild ways when he was younger. He wasn’t trained in intellectual jousts. Interviews and debates are therefore not his best suits.

But it seems he or his handlers overdid themselves. He should have just kept silent about it and not created another controversy. But he did when he used a consistent awardee for being one of the most trusted journalists in the country as scapegoat. Instead, Soho became to Junior what Maria Ressa became to President Duterte: the cause of his further shame.

And Marcos Jr.’s critics found the ammo against him. Social media is awash with memes picturing him as a critic. In this new controversy, Marcos Jr. vs. Jessica Soho is a mismatch. My advice to him is to just let this latest episode die down. His handlers should advise him to move on and not tarry even a bit longer.

As for his critics, I also advise them not to overdo things. In these elections, Marcos Jr. could become proof of the showbiz saying that bad publicity is still publicity. His support seems to thrive in publicity adversity. He is beginning to feel like an underdog. And people love underdogs. His critics should know when enough is enough. Everybody already knows who the Marcoses are, except for his fanatics. And how can critics change the mind of fanatics?

His critics should focus instead on organizing the legions of anti-Marcos folk behind the most viable candidate or candidates opposing him. I say organizing is the antidote to the Marcos billions that are being thrown around to make Junior win. If not, we will all be sharing the ignominy of ousting the late Marcos Sr. from his perch in Malacañang, and then electing Marcos Jr. to the presidency decades after that ouster.

Or the idea that President Duterte merely paved the way for a Marcos return would be proven true. I have this urge to use the John the Baptizer and Jesus Christ analogy, but that is blasphemous.