Almost all of the 2022 presidential bets attended the first Comelec-sponsored debates held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City on Saturday.
The event, called “The Pilipinas Debates 2022: The Turning Point,” serves as a chance for the candidates to air their platforms of their governance and share their stances on national issues.
For this round of debates, the presidential hopefuls would talk about the Philippine economy and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Luchi Cruz-Valdez.
The following are the attendees: former Duterte spokesperson Ernesto Abella, entrepreneur Faisal Mangondato, labor leader Leody De Guzman, Manila Mayor Isko Moren Domagoso, former defense chief Norberto Gonzales, Sen. Ping Lacson, physician Jose Montemayor, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Only former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was not present.
Meanwhile, some of the presidential bets took to social media to give a glimpse of their preparations for the debates while others continued to campaign for their candidacy.
Here are their posts before the cameras started rolling:
The former Duterte spokesperson shared a short clip of him and his rival candidates posing for the cameras before entering the venue.
“ATM,” he said on a Facebook post. It is short for “at the moment.”
Leody De Guzman
The labor leader shared a photo of him putting on his shoes for the debates.
“Mukha ba akong excited? Aminin ko, slight lang. Hehe,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mukha ba akong excited? Aminin ko, slight lang. Hehe. pic.twitter.com/mIFHUxL6iC
— Ka Leody de Guzman (@LeodyManggagawa) March 19, 2022
Isko Moreno Domagoso
Five minutes before the debate proper, the Manila mayor’s Twitter account shared a picture of him entering the venue.
“MAGSISIMULA NA,” his post said with a finger-pointing-upwards emoji, a reference to his signature hand gesture.
— Isko Moreno Domagoso (@IskoMoreno) March 19, 2022
The former defense chief’s Facebook page reshared a quote of him posted by SMNI network, where he proposed a parliamentary type of government.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
Similar to the Manila mayor, the lawmaker’s Facebook page shared a photo of him entering the venue and settling in before the debates.
“Nakakasabik ulit ‘yung ganitong kaganapan. Parang noong CNN debate lang, tutok ang mga tao sa kung ano ang sasabihin ng mga kandidato. Mabuti na lang at lagi tayong handa sa laban,” Lacson said.
Jose Montemayor Jr.
The lawyer-physician’s Facebook page reshared a Facebook livestream of the presidential debates streamed by a news outlet.
The vice president’s Facebook page shared a promotional video of her for the debates with an audio clip where she voiced her stance for why such events are important.
Mangondato and Pacquiao did not post anything on social media on the day of the debate.