MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Commission on Elections announced on Friday that the presidential and vice-presidential debates scheduled for this weekend have been postponed to April 30 and May 1.
“I would like to announce that we will not be able to proceed with the debate tomorrow (April 23) and Sunday. Hindi po natin ito maitutuloy pero hindi po siya (It will not proceed but it is not) canceled. Reset lang po (It will be reset) by next week, April 30 and May 1,” Comelec Commissioner George Garcia stated in a press conference on Friday.
The announcement came after it was revealed that Impact Hub Manila, Comelec’s PiliPinas Debates partner, had failed to pay a P14 million debt to Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. The third round of debates was planned to take place at the most prestigious event venue in the city.
According to Garcia, the Comelec was made aware of the issue when representatives from Sofitel personally went to the Comelec to tell them of bouncing checks from the event partner.
“Nalaman namin yung problemang yan noong mga nakaraang araw lamang. Personal na pumunta rito yung representatives ng Sofitel upang sabihin na may mga tseke nga raw na nag-bounce sa kanila ng aming partner,” he said.
(We found out about that problem only a few days ago. Sofitel representatives came here personally to say that our partner allegedly bounced checks on them.)
In the rescheduled debates, Garcia said the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) will be the poll body’s partner. He claimed that the KBP volunteered to assist with the debates “for free.”
Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Rey Bulay announced that the poll body will investigate their partner group’s reported failure to pay Sofitel.
The Comelec expressed apologies to the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for postponing the debates on April 23 and 24. – WhatALife!