Comelec will inform candidates of debate topics
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Monday that it would inform presidential and vice presidential candidates of the general topics that would be discussed in its own sanctioned debate in March.
“We will give the candidates a general idea of what the topics to be discussed are, but what we will not give them are specific questions,” James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson, said in a media briefing.
“We would like the debates to be fair, and every candidate will have the opportunity to do whatever research they have to do in preparation for the debate because they will be given the general area around which the questions will revolve,” he added.
Jimenez defended this move, saying: “I’d like to make it clear, this is not unusual and this is not unfair. In any debate, even in the Pilipinas debates that we held in 2016, we did inform the campaigns about the general topics to be discussed… This is an ‘everything under the sun whatever we want to ask’ [debate]. It’s not like that.”
Jimenez then said the Comelec would meet with the campaign teams to inform them of general topics to be asked.
The Comelec would also sign with the candidates a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering debate guidelines.
“So it will be a very formal affair,” Jimenez said.
Comelec held the press briefing after announcing that all presidential candidates, including former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., would attend its upcoming debate on March 19.
However, Vic Rodriguez, the spokesperson of Marcos, clarified that the attendance of his candidate would only be confirmed “if his hectic campaign schedules permit.”
Previously, Marcos declined other invitations for formal interviews and debates where other candidates were invited, including GMA’s presidential interviews, and CNN Philippines’ presidential debates.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.