Comelec to push for law requiring poll bets to attend debates

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MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will push for the passage of a law requiring poll bets to attend debates in future elections.

“We will convince Congress to include in the law a requirement that all local or national candidates must attend the debates called by the Comelec. If they are not available, it could be a ground for disqualification and election offense,” Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said in a Laging Handa briefing on Monday.

The presidential and vice-presidential debates are significant events where candidates can relay to the electorate their plans, platforms, and stand on issues, he added.

“This is not just a simple activity, where the people will be able to know what’s in the mind of a candidate. It is very important because you can see the readiness of the candidate to face the countrymen he is courting,” he said.

He also stated that debates will allow candidates to present their ideas and experiences on how to fix the country’s problems.

Meanwhile, Garcia was delighted by the performance of the nine presidential contenders during the second presidential debate hosted by Comelec on Sunday.

“It is important that we see that their positions are almost the same on the same issue. It means that more or less they all know the solution to the problems that have been asked of them,” he said.

Among who attended the debates on April 3 were former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, Senator Panfilo Lacson, businessman Faisal Mangondato, Dr. Jose Montemayor Jr., businessman Faisal Mangondato, Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was again absent from the debate. He also didn’t show up during the first presidential debate, which took place on March 19. Both events were held at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City.

The third and final presidential debate is slated on April 23, while the next vice-presidential debate is scheduled on April 24.

“Because it is a town hall debate, the public may participate as they will be allowed to ask questions. The discussions and exchange of opinions among candidates are going to be more engaging,” he said.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.