MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) divulged the mechanics of its presidential and vice-presidential debates along with the consequence for non-participating candidates.
Among the mechanics bared by Comelec Spokerperson James Jimenez are:
- The three-hour debate will have a single-moderator format, with no live audience
- Draw lots system will determine to whom the first question will go to
- The succeeding questions will be answered by the candidates in alphabetical order
Jimenez also said, “Each debate is anchored on a set of predetermined topics on pressing concerns of the country, such as pandemic and the economy, and the pool of questions will come from the concerned sector group.”
On March 7, Comelec and Vote Pilipinas signed the Memorandum of Agreement on the staging of ‘PiliPinas Debates’ at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
The presidential debates will be held on March 19 and another one on April 3; the vice presidential debates meanwhile is slated on March 20.
“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,” Jimenez said.
Comelec also stated that candidates who will not participate in the debates will not be allowed to use their e-rally platforms, effective until the end of campaign period.
“We do have an e-rally that we do allow them to use the platform and one of the arguments 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.
He also said that the moderator of the event will be revealed before March 19.
In addition to these events, back-to-back Town Hall Debates will be staged for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, which will take place on April 23 and 24, respectively.
These Town Hall Debates will follow a double-moderator format, and will have both remote and in-person audiences, and a post-debate roundtable.