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Marcos Jr. ignores question regarding his attendance at Comelec's April 3 debate

By NICK GARCIA Published Apr 02, 2022 1:13 pm

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. shook his head and walked away when asked if he'll attend the Commission on Elections (Comelec)'s second presidential debate on April 3.

In a video posted by Ralph Villanueva of The Philippine STAR, Marcos Jr. was asked a categorical question if he'll show up at the debate.

Without giving a definite reply, he took a gander at the reporters around him for a few seconds, didn't say a word, and left the scene with his security detail.

Marcos Jr.'s camp has yet to issue a statement whether he'll be present at the next "PiliPinas Debates: The Turning Point."

The dictator's son and namesake has also yet to formally notify Comelec about his attendance on April 3.

Nine out of 10 candidates, who were present in the first presidential debate last March 19, have already confirmed their attendance on the second one:

  • ex-palace spokesman Ernesto Abella
  • labor leader Leody de Guzman
  • Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso
  • ex-defense secretary Norberto Gonzales
  • Sen. Ping Lacson
  • businessman Faisal Mangondato
  • cardiologist and lawyer Jose Montemayor
  • Sen. Manny Pacquiao
  • Vice President Leni Robredo

Marcos Jr. skipped the March 19 event for his campaign rally.

Prior to that, Marcos Jr. was also a no-show at the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Presidential Candidates Forum last Feb. 3 and the CNN Philippines Presidential Debates last Feb. 26. He also skipped the Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews last January, saying that the host was biased. GMA-7 took exception to Marcos Jr.'s statement.

Marcos Jr. only attended the debates hosted by SMNI—the network owned by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who's wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for sex trafficking of children.

Quiboloy has also endorsed him and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio for the May polls.

In an interview with TeleRadyo, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said they'll look into imposing heavier penalties on candidates who would not attend the poll body's upcoming debates.

Based on its existing rules, Comelec said candidates who will skip its debates will be banned from airing their electronic rally or e-rally on its platforms. Since Feb. 8, the poll body has been giving three presidential and three vice presidential candidates 10-minute slots and 10 party-lists three-minute slots every night to live stream their e-rally on its social media channels.

Last March 31, Comelec announced changes in the format of its second presidential debate, which will see candidates face off in groups of three with longer time to answer questions.

The groups of three, which will be pre-determined via draw before the debates proper, will change with each segment.

Even if Marcos Jr. not yet confirming his attendance, Comelec said they're considering adding 10 names in the draw lots just in case.