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Comelec spox told to explain events that led to postponement of debates

Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez on Friday said he was directed to submit a written explanation on the postponement of the presidential and vice presidential townhall debates scheduled for April 23 and 24, 2022.

The debates were put off after it was reported on Thursday that Comelec's contractor, Impact Hub Manila, has yet to fully pay Sofitel Garden Plaza, the event's official venue. This prompted Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. (PPHI), Sofitel's owner, to threaten to pull out from their agreement.

PPHI, according to reports, has demanded payment after the checks Impact Hub issued bounced.

“Early evening today, in a sealed envelope, I received a copy of an inter-office memorandum from the  Hon. Commissioner Rey Bulay, directing myself and others to submit a written explanation on the circumstances leading up to and including the rescheduling of the PiliPinas Debates 2022,” Jimenez said.

“The memorandum has set a deadline for the response it demands, and I - as well as all other recipients of the memorandum - fully intend to meet that deadline. Just as importantly, due deference to the Honorable Commissioner dictates that any response I make should be made to him, first and foremost,” he said.

Due to this reason, Jimenez said he would refrain from any further comments on the matter.

Commissioner George Garcia said the debates have been rescheduled on April 30 and May 1.

Garcia said the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) will be the poll body's partner in the rescheduled debates.

He added that the KBP offered to help in conducting the debates "for free."—LDF, GMA News