ABS-CBN News : Comelec debates will be fair, focus on candidates' platforms, says spokesman

3 March 2022

By ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said it will ensure that its presidential and vice presidential debates will be fair and will be able to help voters know their candidates more.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body was finalizing the format of the debate.

"As far as we're concerned, our goal is to present the format to the candidates, and to show them that it will be a fair debate," he told ANC.

"Our primary goal is that when we present the format to the candidates, the candidates understand what is expected of them, what they can and cannot do within the framework of the debate, and the assurance from Comelec that the debate will treat them fairly."

He also said the questions will focus mainly on their platforms.

"I think our focus will be more on platform questions. What are the plans that you're going to do, and we're going to interrogate those plans. We're going to make sure na naiintindihan talaga ng publiko kung ano 'yung pinag-uusapan, kung ano 'yung balak gawin (that the public understands what's being talked about, what they plan to do)," Jimenez said.

Jimenez said the Comelec has a journalist in mind to moderate the debate.

"We're looking at a journalist to host this, simply because as a journalist they are experienced in conducting interviews, and we believe a journalist will have the necessary experience to really riff on the questions so that it does not become a mechanical rundown of question 1, 2, 3, 4, 5," he said.

"Para buhay 'yung discussion (So that the discussion will be lively) and we believe a journalist is best suited for that."

According to Jimenez, the candidates can be rest assured the moderator will treat them fairly.

"Ultimately, the moderator shouldn't be an issue, because the moderator, of course, being that this will be a Comelec debate, will be bound to the strictest rule of impartiality and objectivity. So I think the candidates can rest assured that the moderator, whoever that turns out to be, will be treating them fairly," he said.

The debate will last about 2 hours, with each candidate having a minute and a half to speak.

The Comelec last week announced that its first presidential debate for Halalan 2022 is scheduled on March 19.

It earlier said all 10 presidential candidates will attend the debate, but the camp of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. later said it has yet to decide.