The Philippine Star : Comelec says no more town hall debates, sets taped interviews with candidates

25 April 2022

By The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections said Monday it will no longer hold its final presidential and vice presidential town hall debates and will instead air pre-taped interviews of poll candidates.

The concluding event of the PiliPinas Debates 2022 Series was supposedly scheduled on April 30 and May 1 after it was postponed over payment issues involving private firm Impact Hub Manila, which organized the previous debates. The debates were initially set on April 23 and 24.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the poll body will adopt a single candidate or team panel interview format in consideration of the “inevitable scheduling conflicts as the candidates approach the homestretch of the campaign period” and as advised by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. KBP agreed to organize the final two events.

Garcia added the single candidate or team panel interview format will be a series of pre-taped panel interviews and will run from May 2 to 6.

Guidelines of the panel interviews will be released tomorrow, the official said, adding all candidates will be entitled to a one-hour interview. The candidates may choose to conduct in-person or virtual interviews.

Impact Hub Manila reportedly failed to settle a P14-million balance with debate venue host Sofitel Philippine Plaza, which led to the postponement of the debates.

In a statement, the private firm stressed that Comelec is not party to its agreement with Sofitel. The “private deal” covered logistical and technical support for the presidential and vice presidential debates. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from TV5/Greg Gregorio