Presidential, VP Debates Will be Face-to-Face With Virtual Audience, Says Comelec

Audience will participate virtually.

The presidential and vice presidential debates for the 2022 elections will be face-to-face among candidates, with the audience participating virtually, the Commission on Elections said Thursday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez made the remark after Sen. Manny Pacquiao said he preferred to debate with other presidential aspirants in person, sparking talk online on how the debates would proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jimenez said the Comelec was looking into holding the vice presidential debates in three parts to give the more time to discuss their plans with voters since unlike in other U.S.-style democracies, the Philippines elects its president and vice president separately.

There could be as many as six debates, three each for president and vice president, Jimenez said.

Organized by the Comelec and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the PiliPinas Debates were first held in 2016.

The debate series was broadcast by the four major networks in the country --- GMA Network, TV5, ABS-CBN, and CNN Philippines --- and were staged in Cagayan De Oro City, Cebu City, Dagupan, and Manila before a live audience.

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