FACT CHECK News PHL Vote 2022

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: No, Jessica Soho did not interview Marcos Jr. in 2016


Columnist Alex Magno of the Philippine Star claimed that journalist Jessica Soho of GMA-7 interviewed presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in 2016.

A reader asked VERA Files to verify the authenticity of Magno’s claim. It is false.


In his Jan. 27 column, Magno cited instances when past presidential candidates declined to participate in interviews or debates, such as the late Fernando Poe Jr. and then-senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III, amid criticisms against Marcos Jr. for declining interviews. He said:

“No one remembered that when Marcos submitted to a Jessica Soho interview in 2016, the venue was filled with LP supporters who heckled his every answer.”

Magno, who served as board director at the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, added:

“Nor did anyone bother to check the audience turnout. According to YouTube, the Jessica Soho-Leni episode has garnered 76 thousand views. By contrast, the Boy Abunda-BBM episode has 3.6 million views and (is) running.”

Source: Alex Magno, ”First Person” Column entitled “Pageant” on the Philippine Star, Jan. 27, 2022 (archive)


Contrary to Magno’s claim, Soho did not interview Marcos Jr. in 2016 when he was then running for vice president, according to GMA-7.

In a Feb. 11 statement sent to VERA Files, The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews team said Soho’s last interview with Marcos Jr. was in 2011 for the news program State of the Nation. (Read GMA News and Public Affairs’ statement here)

In the seven-minute interview uploaded on YouTube on March 4, 2011, Marcos Jr. was vehement in denying the involvement of his late father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., in any human rights abuses during the martial law years.

Soho’s interview came two days after the first 12 out of 7,526 human rights victims under the Marcos Sr. regime received $1,000 (around P43,000) each as compensation from a $10-million award in a class suit filed before the U.S. District Court of Hawaii.

In Soho’s 2011 interview with Marcos Jr., Myla Eder, who served as executive producer of the State of the Nation program from March 2011 to March 2015, said no heckling happened. Eder, who now works as a member of, a collaborative project of fact-checking organizations for the 2022 elections, said:

“I can attest that there was no heckling during the 2011 interview as I was the EP of SONA at that time. The only people present during the interview, aside from Ma’am Jess, were the segment producer, researcher and camera crew.”

The Jan. 22 episode of The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews featured Vice President Leni Robredo, as well as Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Sens. Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson. Marcos Jr. declined to participate in the event, saying Soho is “biased against the Marcoses.”

Further, the team disputed the statistics Magno cited in comparing the YouTube views garnered by the over two-hour interview of Soho with four other presidential contenders and the Jan. 25 interview of talk show host Boy Abunda with Marcos Jr. He said Soho’s presidential interviews had reached close to seven million views by the time Magno’s column was published on Jan. 27.

As of Feb. 11 (4:42 p.m.), Soho’s presidential interview already gained 8.41 million views while Abunda’s interview reached 11.83 million views.

Magno was apparently referring to a less-than-two-minute portion of the interview with Robredo that was uploaded on YouTube on Jan. 22 and had 76,168 views, and compared it with Abunda’s more than one hour one-on-one with Marcos on Jan. 25.

VERA Files Fact Check earlier debunked another claim of Magno in the same Jan. 27 column that Aquino did not participate in any debate during his 2010 presidential campaign. Read it here: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Columnist Magno falsely claims PNoy skipped 2010 presidential debates


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Alex Magno, Column entitled “Pageant” on The Philippine Star, Jan. 27, 2022 (archive)

GMA News and Public Affairs, The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews statement of fact | GMA News Online, Feb. 11, 2022

ABS-CBN News, 12 rights victims under Marcos receive $1,000 each | ABS-CBN News, Feb, 28, 2011

New York Times, First Payments Are Made to Victims of Marcos Rule, March 2, 2011

Gulf News, Victims get $1,000 compensation for suffering under Marcos rule, March 1, 2011

GMA News, Jessica Soho interviews Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on State of the Nation, March 4, 2011

GMA Public Affairs, The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews, Jan. 22, 2022

The Boy Abunda Talk channel, The 2022 Presidential One-On-One Interviews with Boy Abunda featuring Former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Jan. 25, 2022

GMA News, VP Leni Robredo, sumagot sa mga tanong tungkol sa prinsipyo | Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews, Jan. 22, 2022

Myla Eder, LinkedIn profile, Accessed Feb. 11, 2022, About, Accessed Feb. 11, 2022


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)