Sonshine Media Network International newsman and commentator Mike Abe claimed on a broadcast that presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo demanded specific panelists and refused to attend the SMNI-organized presidential candidate debate because the organizers changed panelists.
This is false.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez cites a conflict with scheduling between the SMNI debate and a previously scheduled trip to Panay, and multiple sources (https://tribune.net.ph/…/robredo-vows-to-oppose-bida…/ , https://www.manilatimes.net/…/robredo-vows…/1833147) confirm that she was in Panay on a two-day trip starting on Tuesday, February 15, the same day as the SMNI debate.
Robredo has stated her intention to join all upcoming COMELEC and “accredited” presidential debates, including the upcoming CNN February 26 debate, which political rival Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s team has announced a no-show for, with similar reasons.
Robredo is not the only presidential candidate to snub the SMNI debate, with presidentiables Ping Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, and Isko Moreno declining the invitation. (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/fwd-isko-moreno… , https://www.manilatimes.net/…/robredo-pacquiao…/1832922)
SMNI is run by controversial Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who has already personally attended rallies for the Marcos – Duterte tandem. Lacson and Pacquiao attribute their non-attendance to Quiboloy, with Lacson citing the pastor’s endorsement of preferred candidates and Pacquiao citing the pastor’s status as being wanted in the United States for accusations of sex trafficking among other charges.
This commentary is a clear move to drum up negative sentiment and paint a negative image of Robredo.