: Bongbong Marcos shuns Comelec debates, cites ‘preferred mode of communication with people’

14 March 2022

By Neil Arwin Mercado |

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has decided to skip the debates organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), his spokesperson announced Monday.

Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesperson, made the announcement five days before the debates scheduled on March 19, Saturday.

“I confirm our non-participation in the Comelec-sanctioned debate this coming Saturday, March 19, 2022,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“Presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos’ words are his bond, thus we shall honor our commitment to our supporters to be with them on the field on this day,” he added.

Rodriguez said the Marcos camp will “continue our preferred mode of direct communication with the people and engage them in a more personal face to face interaction that discusses real issues that affect them today, tomorrow, and in the days to come as this election is all about our collective future.”

Marcos’ running mate, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio also announced earlier her decision to not attend the Comelec debates.

Marcos has previously been criticized for declining some major presidential debates and fora attended by his fellow presidential candidates.

The first one Marcos declined was the interview with veteran journalist Jessica Soho, who he called “biased.” Marcos also skipped the presidential forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and by CNN Philippines, citing conflict with schedule.

Marcos, however, attended the debates organized by media network SMNI, whose owner, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy had previously endorsed his and Duterte-Carpio’s candidacies. Other presidential candidates—Senator Panfilo Lacson, Manila City mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo—did not attend the SMNI debates.