Marcos Jr. still not sure about joining Comelec-initiated presidential debate | Inquirer News

Marcos Jr. still not sure about joining Comelec-initiated presidential debate

/ 08:08 PM March 01, 2022
Marcos Jr. still not sure about joining Comelec-initiated presidential debate

FILE PHOTO: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is still unsure whether or not he will join the debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“I don’t know, I’m still looking at the format,” Marcos Jr. said in an ambush interview on Tuesday when asked if he will attend the Comelec-initiated event.

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The Comelec presidential debate will be on March 19. Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, previously said that his presidential bet’s attendance at the activity will only be confirmed “if his hectic campaign schedules permit.”

The camp of Marcos Jr. earlier wrote Comelec and other presidential candidates, requesting to tackle the format of the debate prior to March 19.

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

In the letter, Marcos Jr.’s campaign manager Benhur Abalos Jr. said 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.”

READ: Bongbong ordered me to ask Comelec, bets to first tackle debate format – Abalos

Earlier on Tuesday, the Comelec announced that it would inform presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the general topics that would be tackled in the debates.

Asked if he will attend now that the topics are to be released prior to the event, Marcos Jr. said: “That’s basically the same as the others.”

Marcos Jr. has been drawing flak for always declining major presidential interviews, debates, and forums that his rivals generally attend.

The first one Marcos Jr. turned down was an interview with veteran journalist Jessica Soho, who he called “biased.” He also skipped the presidential forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), citing supposed conflict in his schedule.

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Most recently, he did not participate in the presidential debate organized by CNN Philippines.

READ: Presidential bets stress importance of debates

But he attended the debate arranged by media network SMNI, which is owned by televangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who earlier endorsed Marcos Jr. for president. However, presidential candidates like Senators Panfilo Lacson and  Manny Pacquiao, Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and Vice President Leni Robredo did not attend the SMNI debate.

Marcos Jr. has also so far accommodated interviews by broadcaster Korina Sanchez and TV personality Boy Abunda.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 elections, Comelec, debates, election 2022, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Politics
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