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Comelec scraps presidential, VP debates, pushes for interview format

The Commision on Elections (Comelec) will no longer conduct  vice presidential and presidential town hall debates, which were recently rescheduled to April 30 and May 1.

Instead, the poll body, citing "inevitable scheduling conflicts," will push for a panel interview with each candidate.

"The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, has announced that the concluding event of the PiliPinas Debates 2022 Series will no longer be Vice-Presidential and Presidential Town Hall Debates," Commissioner George Garcia said in a message to reporters on Monday.

"In consideration of the inevitable scheduling conflicts as the candidates approach the homestretch of the campaign period, and as advised by the KBP, the COMELEC will now be adopting a Single Candidate/Team - Panel Interview format."

Garcia said the interviews will be aired from May 2 to 6.

"All will be entitled to a 1 hr panel interview," he said, adding the candidates can attend either virtual or face to face.

Interviewed on GMA News’ Unang Balita, Garcia said the interview can be either one-on-one or with a "partner" or "tandem."

He added that the Comelec will issue an advisory about the event soon.

KBP will be Comelec's partner for the event amid the issue hounding Impact Hub Manila, its partner in the previous presidential and vice presidential debates.

The town hall debates — the final debates before the May 9 elections — were supposed to be held on April 23 and 24. It was moved to April 30 and May 1 amid reports that Impact Hub Manila failed to fully pay Sofitel Garden Plaza, the debates' official venue, for the past debates. —KBK, GMA News