Mini-debates, a longer deadline and a no-show from the perennial debate captain — here are the things to watch out for when Comelec continues its series of presidential debates on April 3
Editor’s note: The Comelec is already broadcasting its second presidential debate starting at 7 p.m. (Manila time) on Sunday, April 3. For live updates on this debate, visit this page on Rappler. For the livestream, click on the YouTube video below.
MANILA, Philippines – The series of presidential debates organized by the Election Commission (Comelec) continues on Sunday evening April 3.
The showdown will feature nine of the 10 presidential candidates, in the same location, but with some modifications to its original debate format.
Here are some things to expect:
Mini-debates in each segment
Unlike the first debate, the nine candidates will be divided into groups of three per segment, with the aim of a more focused confrontation between the participants.
Each group will receive a unique question on the theme or topic of that segment.
The groupings, which will be randomly determined by lottery two hours before the actual debate, will evolve throughout the show, which will have a total of four segments.
“We saw what happened in the first debate. We thought it would be a good opportunity to sharpen the debate,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said during a press briefing Thursday, March 31.
A general question will always be asked to all candidates, but only at the start of the debate. Before the end of the show, the contestants will each have one minute to make a closing statement.
Each candidate will have two minutes to answer a question and an additional 30 seconds to rebut.
This timeframe is longer than in the first debate, where candidates had 90 seconds to answer a question, 30 seconds for a rebuttal and 30 seconds for a reply.
After Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Ruth Cabal, veteran journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon will continue the trend of female moderators headlining the debate.
Oreña-Drilon brings with her almost four decades of experience in the journalism industry. Like her predecessors in the Comelec debate series, she is expected to lead the flow of the debate and make sure the contestants meet the deadline.
New Discussion Topics
The topics of the presidential debate on Sunday evening will revolve around the following points:
- foreign relations
- government responsibility
- Safety and security
Still no appearance from the debate skipper, most likely
Will attend the debate on Sunday evening:
- presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella
- labor leader Leody de Guzman
- Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso
- former Chief of Defense Norberto Gonzales
- Senator Ping Lacson
- Businessman Faisal Mangondato
- cardiologist Jose Montemayor
- Senator Manny Pacquiao,
- Vice President Leni Robredo
Thursday, the son of former senator and dictator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. gave Comelec no indication that he will attend the second presidential debate.
He did not attend the first debate because he chose to attend a campaign outing.
So far, the only debates in which the leader of the investigation has taken part have been those moderated by the television channel SMNI, whose owner is Apollo Quiboloy, a preacher wanted by the FBI for alleged child sex trafficking. Quiboloy endorsed Marcos Jr. for president.
The electorate should again prepare an empty podium for him to symbolize his absence from the event.
No new sanctions for the skipper of the debate
Comelec’s law and education departments are still considering what other sanctions could be imposed on debate skippers, commissioner George Garcia said on Monday (March 28).
The polling official also called on the new Congress after the election to pass a law requiring candidates to attend debates.
Comelec said there is no law allowing the polling body to compel elective aspirants to attend highly anticipated events.
So far, as a sanction, Comelec has banned debate skippers from its e-rally channel.
Same place, no audience
The presidential debate will still be held at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City. There will still be no live audience except for a few companions of the contestants and members of the media.
The Pilipinas Debates 2022 will once again be simulcast on multiple online news and broadcast organizations, including Rappler’s social media channels. – Rappler.com