Marcos camp: Attendance in Comelec debates only confirmed if ‘hectic’ schedule permits | Inquirer News

Marcos camp: Attendance in Comelec debates only confirmed if ‘hectic’ schedule permits

/ 03:28 PM February 24, 2022
Bongbong Marcos debates

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. campaign in Mandaluyong | PHOTO: Bongbong Marcos official Facebook account

MANILA, Philippines — The attendance of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the debates organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will only be confirmed, “if his hectic campaign schedules permit.”

Marcos’ camp issued the statement on Thursday after Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced that all presidential candidates—including Marcos—will attend the debate scheduled on March 19.

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“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 7pm to 9:30pm. on March 19, 2022,” Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesperson, said 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.

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In a tweet following the release of the Marcos camp’s statement, Jimenez said the Comelec was earlier advised of Marcos’ “readiness to participate” in the debates.

Jimenez attached a letter sent to Comelec by Marcos’ national campaign manager Benjamin Abalos Jr. dated February 11 which states: “Foremost, presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has expressed his readiness to join the same.”

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“However, it would be more proper and prudent if all presidential candidates will be given an opportunity to discuss before the Commission among themselves the format, which will include the issues to be discussed, the time allotment for each, the right to respond and rebut his/her arguments, who will be the moderator, among others,” Abalos’ letter to the Comelec further read.

Notably, the letter only stated Marcos’ “readiness to join” the debates, rather than a formal confirmation of attendance.

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

Marcos declined the first 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), citing conflict with schedule.

Most recently, Marcos’ camp announced that he will not be attending the presidential forum organized by CNN Philippines, also due to issues with schedule.

Nonetheless, Marcos accepted an interview with TV host Boy Abunda and veteran broadcaster Korina Sanchez. Marcos also attended the presidential forum organized by media station SMNI.

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Marcos himself has said that if he accepts an invitation to a debate, he will answer even the most hostile questions—but he quickly pointed out that he can only commit if his schedule permits.

/MUF
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TAGS: 2022 elections, campaign schedule, debates, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
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