Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos will skip the March 19 debate organized by the Commission on Elections, his spokesperson said Monday, adding that he would rather continue with the face to face mode of campaigning for the May 9 polls.
"I confirm our non-participation in the Comelec-sanctioned debate this coming Saturday, March 19, 2022," Vic Rodriguez, who also serves as Marcos' chief of staff, said in a statement.
"Presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos’ words are his bond, thus we shall honor our commitment to our supporters to be with them on the field on this day," he added.
Rodriguez earlier said Marcos has a full schedule on March 19, the day of the first presidential debate, which has been in place since two months ago.
"We shall continue with our preferred mode of direct communication with the people and engage them in a more personal face to face interaction that discusses real issues that affect them today, tomorrow and in the days to come as this election is all about our collective future," he added.
Since the official campaign period began on Feb. 8, Marcos has only shown up in the presidential debate organized by SMNI. He declined to attend a similar forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas and CNN Philippines, citing conflicts in his schedule.
Sen. Imee Marcos, in an interview over the weekend, said her brother should attend at least some, if not all, of the scheduled presidential debates, adding that a leader must be responsible and ready to answer the questions thrown at him.
Marcos' running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, also said she would skip debates as she campaigns to become the country's next vice president, adding that she would leave it to the voters to decide.
The Comelec previously said those who would skip debates would no longer be allowed to air their e-rallies through the poll body's official channel.