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Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will not participate in the forthcoming debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), his camp confirmed.
"I confirm our non-participation in the Comelec sanctioned debate this coming Saturday, March 19, 2022,” Marcos’ lawyer Atty. Vic Rodriguez said.
“Presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos’ words are his bond, thus we shall honor our commitment to our supporters to be with them on the field on this day," he added.
According to Rodriguez, their camp prefers to directly communicate with the people to discuss real issues.
9/10 candidates to participate
Marcos Jr. is the lone presidential candidate to skip the debate called "PiliPinas debates 2022: The Turning Point."
The rest of the candidates, including former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Lanao del Sur businessman Faisal Mangondato, Dr. Jose Montemayor Jr., and Vice President Leni Robredo already confirmed their attendance.
This is not the first time the presidential bet shunned a major presidential debate. He previously skipped an interview with veteran journalist Jessica Soho, who he called “biased” for being “anti-Marcos.”
He also did not attend the presidential forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and by CNN Philippines, because of conflict with schedule.
Moreover, Marcos’ running mate, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, also announced earlier her decision to skip the event.
The first Comelec presidential debate is slated on March 19. Another one is set on April 3, and then a town hall setup is set on April 24.
Comelec to punish debate skippers
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez ealier said that penalty awaits debate skippers.
"Empty po 'yung podium and at the same time, 'yung kandidatong hindi umattend ay hindi na makakagamit ng ating e-rally platform," Jimenez said.
The poll body's e-rally platform aids candidates in reaching a wider audience amid the pandemic. The e-rally channel airs campaign videos and livestream events of national candidates every night through Facebook.