The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday, March 5, revealed the mechanics of the presidential and vice-presidential debates organized by the agency as the May 9 polls draw near.
“The first Presidential Debates is on March 19, followed by the Vice-Presidential Debates on March 20. There will also be a second Presidential Debates on April 3,” the Comelec said in a statement.
Each debate, according to the poll body, 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 groups.”
Comelec said the three-hour debates will follow a single-moderator format, with no live audience.
“Draw lots will determine to whom the first question will go. Succeeding questions, however, will be answered by the candidates in their alphabetical order,” it added.
Meanwhile, the poll body said 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.
It noted that the presidential and vice-presidential Town Hall Debates will be held on April 23 and 24, respectively.
The Town Hall Debate will follow a double-moderator format, Comelec said.
On March 7, Comelec and Vote Pilipinas, the poll body’s official partner for voter education and information, will formalize the agreement to stage the Pilipinas Debates 2022 in a signing ceremony at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay.
Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said they are “very excited to have the agreement signed so we can finally share the details and mechanics of this much-awaited COMELEC-organized debates.”
“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,” he said.
Jimenez said Vote Pilipinas has previously demonstrated its capability to mount successful campaign drives during the voter registration period.
“We are confident of their readiness and capacity to help ensure the success of this elections’ debates series,” he expressed.
Comelec and Vote Pilipinas vowed to work closely to “undertake a rigorous selection process for the moderators, and to exercise [the] utmost confidentiality in sourcing debate questions from the different sector groups.”