MANILA (UPDATE) — Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the frontrunner in the pre-election surveys, again snubbed the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) presidential debate on Sunday.
"Nakakalungkot… Dapat nandito siya para 'yung plataporma niya marinig ng tao," presidential candidate Leody de Guzman told reporters upon his arrival at Sofitel, the debate venue.
Marcos also skipped the first Comelec-sponsored debate last March 19, where some of his rivals raised issues against him and his family.
Instead of attending the debate, Marcos Jr. stayed in his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong. His communications staff sent photos that Bongbong met with ten governors for a "consultation" while the debate was ongoing in Pasay City.
Among the governors Marcos Jr. met are the following:
- Quirino - Dax Cua
- Lanao del Norte - Imelda Dimaporo
- La Union - Pacoy Ortega
- Cotabato - Nancy Catamco
- Capiz - Nonoy Contreras
- Southern Leyte - Damian Mercado
- Kalinga - Ferdinand Tubban
- Abra - Joy Bernos
- Ifugao - Jerry Dalipog
- Camiguin - Gubernatorial candidate Xavier Romualdo
Marcos Jr.'s communication staff also claimed they were not monitoring the debate.
Comelec is holding a series of debates dubbed "PiliPinas 2022: Turning Point" for presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Marcos' continued absence in several debates has prompted his opponents to seek heavier sanctions for debate skippers.
The camp of Marcos said he will not participate in debates that only intend to pit candidates against each other, claiming that the public is supposedly tired of "political mudslinging".
- with a report from Jacque Manabat