The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should not leave voters at the mercy of “self-serving” TV commercials of aspirants for public office.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, campaign manager of the opposition Senate ticket Otso Diretso, said this as he urged the Comelec to rethink its stand against holding a debate of candidates for senator and organize one.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on Monday said the Comelec was not likely to host a debate because there were only two months to go before the elections.
Pangilinan said Jimenez’s statement was unfortunate as he noted that many voters got to learn about candidates only through the candidates’ propaganda.
“We hope the Comelec gives top priority to the debates considering we still have over two months to go,” Pangilinan said.
“Information regarding candidates have been based mainly on very expensive and mostly self-serving TV ads,” he said.
The ads, Pangilinan said, “do little to help the voters deepen their awareness regarding the qualifications of the candidates.”
Media outfits have organized forums and debates for candidates, but not all of them have shown up or participated.
Otso Diretso candidates have also challenged candidates of the administration’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) to a debate, but HNP said a debate should be organized by an independent third party.
One HNP candidate, Sen. JV Ejercito, said in a television interview that he had not balked at invitations to debates during this campaign.
Ejercito said debates were good opportunities for him to share his position on issues and inform the public about his track record as a public official.
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