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Sanctions will be determined by two Comelec departments vs. debate skippers.

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is determined to impose further sanctions for anyone who fails to attend its presidential and vice-presidential debates, as stipulated by law.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said, “We referred to the Law Department and EID (Education and Information Department) and asked them to submit what other sanctions can be imposed on those who do not attend our debates, especially if there is no proper reason.”

Garcia went on to say that they are still debating whether or not to make any changes to the next presidential debate.

“It’ll be finished on April 3.” We’ll discuss whether or not adjustments are required. What other consequences can we impose on individuals who do not attend the debates is a major question. Because it is optional, not required, and because there is no existing law, the Comelec will find it impossible to impose any sanctions,” he noted.

On Wednesday, the Comelec en banc will discuss the matter, he said.

Garcia, on the other hand, stated that the debates are intended to educate voters on vital subjects.

“Watch out for our debate if you want to see the contestants demonstrate their intellect and skills.” “We’ll learn more about the contenders and get to know them better,” he said.

The Comelec convened the first presidential and vice-presidential debates at the Sofitel Harbor Tent in Pasay City on March 19 and 20.

Former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Dr. Jose Montemayor, businessman Faisal Mangondato, Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo were among those who attended the presidential debate.

Walden Bello, Manny SD Lopez, Dr. Willie Ong, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Carlos Serapio, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III were among those who attended the vice-presidential debate.

Due to medical considerations, former Manila mayor Lito Atienza declined to attend the ceremony.

The discussions were skipped by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

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