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Comelec Says Election Debates Participation of Candidates is Not Mandatory

The Commission on Election (Comelec) said that it is not mandatory for political candidates to participate in election debates.

Candidates are not required to participate in election debates, according to Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez. They can’t force people to participate in discussions, he claims.

“Under the law, participation in the debate is not mandatory. We have no choice. We cannot force them to join the debates,” he said in a televised interview.

Comelec Mandatory Election Debates

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Before the May 2022 elections, the Comelec plans to organize presidential and vice presidential debates from February through April. Although it is not required, candidates typically participate in the debates that they arrange, according to Jimenez.

According to the official, whether the discussion is arranged by the Comelec or when the Comelec takes the lead in organizing the debates, the candidates usually show up. This is because, according to him, people only come because of free airtime and extensive coverage.

“They don’t have to but they do come because of its massive airtime and they do get massive coverage that they could not get otherwise without pay or possibly running afoul of the time limits for broadcast,” he said.

So, in the end, I believe that publicity and exposure are what tilt the scales in favor of candidates. Since the 2022 elections are just a few months away, some political candidates are challenging their opponents to debate in order to learn about their positions and solutions to community issues.

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