Presidential debates: ‘Ayaw natin ng duwag’ – Comelec

Paterno Esmaquel II
Presidential debates: ‘Ayaw natin ng duwag’ – Comelec
'Kung hindi sila pumunta sa mga debateng ito ay mensahe na rin,' Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista says, referring to presidential bets for 2016

MANILA, Philippines – “Kilala natin ang Pilipino. I think ayaw natin ng mga duwag. Ayaw natin ng mga hindi nagpapakita kung sila ay iniimbita.” 

(We know Filipinos. I think we don’t like cowards. We don’t like people who don’t show up when they’re invited.)

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said this on Tuesday, October 13, as he warned candidates against snubbing the presidential and vice-presidential debates initiated by the poll body. (READ: Rappler signs agreement on Comelec election debates)

He said candidates, if they refuse to join the debates, risk incurring the “biggest disincentive.” This is to be viewed as cowards.

Kung hindi sila pumunta sa mga debateng ito ay mensahe na rin,” Bautista said in a news conference. (If they don’t go to these debates, it is also a message.)

Bautista then announced the following dates for the Comelec debates:

  • First presidential debate – February 21, a Sunday, from 5 to 7 pm in Mindanao
  • Second presidential debate – March 20, also a Sunday, from 5 to 7 pm in the Visayas, 
  • Third presidential debate – April 24, a Sunday, from 5 to 7 pm in Southern or Central Luzon
  • Sole vice-presidential debate – April 10 in Metro Manila

(Watch more in the video below)

Bautista added that the Comelec is tapping schools to host these debates.

Earlier, the Comelec also said it wants the presidential debates to be “multimedia.”

The Fair Elections Act or Republic Act 9006, signed in February 2001, states that the Comelec “may require national television and radio networks to sponsor at least 3 national debates among presidential candidates and at least one national debate among vice-presidential candidates. 

The Comelec last hosted a presidential debate in 1992, when Fidel Ramos won the presidency.

Media outlets have traditionally held their own presidential or senatorial debates, but many candidates back out because they fear public scrutiny. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at