AMID the brouhaha surrounding the televised interview of several presidential candidates, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday, January 22, 2022, said it is hoping that all presidential and vice-presidential bets will be joining their planned debate series beginning in February.
In a social media post, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said they are hopeful that all presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the May 2022 polls will voluntarily join the debate series for the sake of all voters.
“Presidential and vice-presidential candidates should commit to the public, whose votes they seek, that they will participate in the #PiliPinasDebates2022,” said Jimenez.
He issued the statement amid the furor surrounding the refusal of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to participate in the “The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews,” which airs Saturday night.
This was in contrast to the appearance of fellow presidential bets Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo.
According to the Marcos camp, the son of the late dictator decided against joining as he believes that the host is biased against the Marcoses.
Jimenez, however, previously stated that participation in the Comelec debates is not mandatory for all candidates.
But for Comelec-Education and Information Department Director Elaiza David, non-participation in debates would not create a good impression of particular candidates to the voters.
The Comelec is planning to hold a series of presidential and vice-presidential debates during the campaign period.
The planned debates will be spread throughout the campaign period from February to April.