Absent bets to have empty podium during debates

Published January 26, 2022, 12:22 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Although not mandatory, skipping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) organized debates may not be a good idea for candidates for president and vice president in the May 2022 polls.


This as the poll body is planning to keep their podiums empty during the debate.

“If a candidate refuses to attend, their podium will remain empty. So we will make a big deal of the fact that they are not there. I guess for a campaigner that could be a huge motivatiob to actually attend,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum Wednesday, Jan. 26.

The poll official, however, expressed confidence that the candidates will attend the debates.

“It isn’t obligatory. It isn’t mandatory and its never been mandatory…but in our history, experience when its organized by Comelec there’s 100 percent attendance unless there’s legitimate health concerns,” said Jimenez.

“Other than that, the compliance of the candidates have been very good,” he added.

The Comelec is looking to hold presidential and vice presidential debates from February to April ahead of the May 2022 polls.