Comelec unveils new debate format: 3 groups, 4 segments, longer time limit

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2022 02:52 PM

 Presidential candidates participate in the drawing of lots moments before the start of COMELEC’s official debates held at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on March 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Presidential candidates participate in the drawing of lots moments before the start of COMELEC’s official debates held at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on March 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday detailed the new debate format to be introduced on Sunday's presidential debate, where 9 out of 10 candidates are expected to participate. 

"Meron tayong mga kaunting modification sa debate format... We figured that this would be a good opportunity to even sharpen the debate some more," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a press briefing.

The changes were made following the first set of presidential and vice presidential debates held last April 19 and 20. 

Jimenez said all candidates except survey frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. are expected to join on Sunday. 

NEW FORMAT

In the previous debate, candidates were made to answer one general question per segment. 

For the upcoming debates, the candidates would only answer a common question during the first part.

"For each succeeding segments, candidates would be divided by groups of 3 where each group will be given 1 question essentially to debate on... In total there would be 3 questions for each segments," Jimenez explained.

The groups of 3 would change every segment. The groups would be randomly predetermined by a drawing of lots prior to the debate.

There would be a total of 4 segments.

Two minutes or 120 seconds will be allotted for a candidate to answer and 30 seconds would be given for others to rebutt.

"Two minutes ang ibibigay natin para makasagot nang mas malalim at mas masusntansya ang ating mga kandidato," Jimenez said.

The debate on Sunday would be moderated by broadcast journalist Ces Drilon.