Comelec to sanction debate skippers, assures confidentiality of debate questions

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2022 03:11 PM

Comelec officials and Vote Pilipinas representatives grace the memorandum of agreement signing, on the staging of 'Pilipinas Debates' for the 2022 national elections, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on March 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Comelec officials and Vote Pilipinas representatives grace the memorandum of agreement signing, on the staging of 'Pilipinas Debates' for the 2022 national elections, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on March 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Candidates who will skip the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be "sanctioned" by the poll body. 

In a press conference, Comelec acting chairperson Socorro Inting said debate skippers would no longer be able to use the poll body’s official e-rally channels for the rest of the campaign period.

"I hope all the candidates will participate in the debates sponsored by the Comelec. One who refuses or skips the debate will not be allowed to join the e-rallies," Inting said.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the sanction was stipulated in their agreement with candidates.

"One of the agreements is that if they skip the debates then they will not be able to air their e-rallies on our e-rally platform," said Jimenez.

The Comelec will also put an empty podium for those who skip the debates. 

Meanwhile, Jimenez assured specific questions on the debates would remain confidential. 

"When it comes to the process of actually finalizing the list of questions that will be included in the question pool, everyone who will be involved in the process will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement," Jimenez said.