The Manila Times : Marcos' participation in Comelec debate not yet sure – spokesman

24 February 2022

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

PRESIDENTIAL candidate and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s participation in the upcoming Commission on Elections' (Comelec) debate is not yet confirmed, his spokesman said on Thursday.

This, after Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that all 10 presidential candidates, including Marcos, will attend the poll body's sponsored debate on March 19.

"Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, Jr. has not yet confirmed his participation in the Comelec-sponsored debate which was scheduled from 7 p.m to 9:30 p.m. on March 19, 2022," said Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, in a statement.

"His 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," he added.

Marcos has declined to attend many presidential interviews and fora, citing either a conflict in his schedule or that he believed the interviewer was prejudiced against him.

He only attended one group event so far — the debate conducted by SMNI, the network owned by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who endorsed his and his running-mate Sara Duterte-Carpio's bids for the 2022 national polls.

In the SMNI debates, Marcos was joined by presidential candidates former Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman and former defense chief Norberto Gonzales.

The survey frontrunner previously skipped the forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas and begged off from the debates by CNN Philippines — both citing conflict of schedule.

Marcos also did not participate in "The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews" and accused the award-winning journalist of bias.