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Comelec to study Otso Diretso’s petition for the election body to host debate with Hugpong

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By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections said it will still study the request of “Otso Diretso” senate bets for them to officiate or facilitate a debate between the group and the candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

“Pag aaralan po ng Comelec yan. Matagal na natin nararamdaman yung pangangailangan sa isang debate (The Comelec will study that. We have long been feeling the need for a debate),” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a television interview Thursday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez (FILE PHOTO / CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez (FILE PHOTO / CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a separate interview, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they will discuss the matter in their en banc meeting.

In their letter to the poll body, the opposition coalition cited the statement of HP founding chair Sara Duterte to their debate challenge “to find a third party organizer for the debate.”

“Hence, this request considering the independence and impartiality of the Comelec in the conduct of elections,” Otso Diretso said.

According to opposition group, the debate between the two slates was planned but it seems that HNP would not agree unless formal rules or guidelines are set up and an independent body would facilitate or conduct the meet.

Otso Diretso bets also believe that a debate would be beneficial to the voting public.

“We likewise believe that this debate would benefit the voting public who has all the right to know the platforms and positions on various issues of these political groups,” they said.

Meanwhile, the Comelec will continue to accept requests for vote counting machine (VCM) demonstration until next month.

This is to help voters get familiar with how the automated election system (AES) works ahead of the May 13 midterm polls.

Jimenez said requesting parties simply need to send their requests at aesdemonstration@gmail.com of the COMELEC.

“We would like to extend invitation to all interested public, who are able to gather up an audience so we can conduct VCM demos and lectures,” he said.

“But by the 3rd week of April, we will stop the demo because the demo machines will have to go into the pool of reserved machines,” added Jimenez. #MatalinongBoto2019

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