The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is presenting to the public the official candidates for President and Vice President for the May 9 elections through the Pilipinas Debates 2022.
COMELEC and its voter education partner Vote Pilipinas, have organized two debates this weekend – the Presidentiables Debates on Saturday, March 19, and the Vice Presidential Debates on Sunday, March 20. Both debates will be televised at 7 PM with live streaming on the COMELEC online platforms and simulcast on broadcast and online news media.
The debates will have 10 podiums set up for all the official Presidentiables and 9 podiums for the official Vice Presidentiables.
The official Presidential candidates confirmed to attend the COMELEC debates are Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Ping Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, former Gloria Arroyo administration defense secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Rodrigo Duterte spokesperson Ernesto Abella, businessman Faisal Mangondato, medical doctor Jose Montemayor, and labor rights advocate Leody de Guzman.
“This is a high-stakes event that the voting public has been fervently looking forward to, so we expect all candidates to be on deck and ready to demonstrate why they deserve our vote,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said earlier when the poll body announced the scheduled debates.
There will be no in-studio audience except the companions of the candidates when the debates go live from the Sofitel Harbor Garden tent in Pasay City.
The COMELEC said in its debates walkthrough for the media held ahead of the weekend that there will be only 2 issues raised with at most 20 questions prepared by the polls body for the 2 hours and 30 minutes debate program.
The topic of the questions will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy.
“These are the two biggest things on the minds of everyone right now. We’re looking at a continuing problem in the pandemic, and the economy is a good frame with which to discuss the pandemic because of its effect on the economy,” said Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez during the media briefing on March 18.
The following will be observed during the debates:
- Pen and paper to be given to candidates for them to take notes while on stage
- 90 seconds limit for answering a question
- 30 seconds limit for rebuttal
- 30 seconds limit for rejoinder
- Lots to be drawn for order of answering the first question
- Alphabetical order to be followed for answering succeeding questions
Veteran broadcast journalist Luchi Cruz-Valdez will moderate the Presidentiables debate on Saturday.
A unique component of the Pilipinas Debates 2022 is the back-to-back Town Hall Debates, which will have both remote and in-person audiences, and a post-debate roundtable.
The Presidential and Vice Presidential Town Hall Debates will be held on April 23 and 24, respectively. Both will follow a double-moderator format.
This is the COMELEC schedule for Pilipinas Debates 2022:
- March 19 – first presidential debate
- March 20 – first vice presidential debate
- April 3 – second presidential debate
- April 23 – second vice presidential debate (town hall format)
- April 24 – third presidential debate (town hall format)
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