By Ryan Ponce Pacpaco | Journal News Online
PARTIDO Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has yet to confirm his participation in the Commission on Elections-sponsored debate scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. on March 19.
Marcos’ chief of staff and spokesperson Atty. Vic Rodriguez said the presidential candidate’s “participation in the said event, which will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, will only be confirmed if his hectic campaign schedules permit.”
The Commission on Elections has set the presidential debate on March 19.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said and all the 10 candidates have confirmed their attendance.
The presidential candidates for the May 9 polls are former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, former Defense chief Norberto Gonzales, Senator Ping Lacson, Faisal Mangondato, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Jose Montemayor Jr., Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Jimenez said candidates will not be given questions in advance and will not be allowed to bring anything to the podium.
He added there will be three debates to be sponsored by the Comelec.
The spokesman earlier said the law does not require candidates’ participation in public debates, and that the poll body cannot oblige the candidates to show up.
However, the Comelec will “make a big deal” out of the absence of a candidate and will leave the podium assigned to him or her empty to highlight it.
Jimenez also said the decision of certain aspirants to skip various pre-election forums may be a “red flag” for voters.
The campaign period for Eleksyon 2022 candidates running for national positions officially started on Feb. 8 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With Lee Ann P. Ducusin