Some of the country’s presidential aspirants are taking drug tests after President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administrative campaign is a war against drugs, claimed that one of them is a “cocaine” user.
The chief executive made these claims when he attended the Joint National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Conflict-Mimaropa meeting in Oriental Mindoro on November 18.
The president was talking about communist insurgency when he diverged the topic towards drugs, saying that if one wants to destroy the life of their enemy, they should supposedly give drugs to their’s enemy’s children.
“Magbigay ka lang ng droga sa anak, maghigop lang ‘yan. At hindi ninyo magtaka… I will not make it clear now, there has been a presidential candidate na nag-cocaine,” Duterte claimed in his speech.
“May… may kandidato tayo na nagko-cocaine ‘yan, iyang mga anak ng mga mayaman,” he added.
“Nagdodroga ‘yan ng… cocaine ang tirada niya. Itong anak ng mga mayayaman, lahat dito sa Maynila pati sa Davao, isang grupo ‘yan, tirada niyan cocaine,” Duterte further claimed.
“Ang akin lang, pagdating ng panahon, basta sinabi ko sa inyo. And he is a very weak leader, ang character niya, except for the name. Pero ang tatay, pero siya, anong ginawa niya? He might win, hands down, okay. If that is what the Filipino wants, go ahead. Basta alam ninyo ‘yang droga na ‘yan… ” he said.
Duterte’s claims made headlines and days later, some presidential bets have started to subject themselves to drug tests.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was the first one to publicly announce that he underwent a multi-drug screening procedure capable of detecting various illegal substances in the body.
The Partido Reporma standard bearer on Monday said that he and his running mate, Senate President Tito Sotto III, tested themselves for prohibited drugs which turned out to be negative.
“Dapat ang description — highest lider ng bansa, hindi high [sa droga] ang lider ng bansa,” Lacson said to reporters after he was asked why he decided to have himself tested.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also underwent a “cocaine test” on Monday which reportedly tested negative, according to a document submitted by his spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez.
The results were submitted by Rodriguez to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday.
Marcos said that he took the test to assure Filipinos that he is against the use of prohibited drugs. He also believed that he was not the one being mentioned by Duterte in the latter’s speech.
“I really don’t feel that I am the one being alluded to,” he said.
“In spite of that, I believe it is my inherent duty as an aspiring public official to assure my fellow Filipinos that I am against illegal drugs,” Marcos added.
Former Akbayan congressman Walden Bello, running mate of presidential aspirant Labor leader, in a tweet cast doubt on the drug test taken by Marcos.
“I am willing to comply should COMELEC decide to make drug testing a requirement for national candidates, like @LeodyManggagawa. But I refuse to participate in a circus to clean up the image of the a****** @bongbongmarcos. Can you really trust a drug test result produced by him?” Bello tweeted.
Other online users also cast doubt on the authenticity of Marcos’ drug test results, citing the wrong address.
“Walang logo ng St. Luke’s? 32nd St. walang 5th Ave? Ususan? Kelan pa napunta doon ang St Luke’s Global City? Can St. Luke’s pls. verify this [’cause] we know St. Luke’s test results won’t look this simple,” a Twitter user said.
Rodriguez, however, vouched for the authenticity of the test.
“Wala na tayong maibibgay na paliwanag sa ayaw mapalinawagan at hindi ko na kaya mag paunawa doon sa tunay na ayaw umunawa. Basta we have presented the drug test result, dalawa ng aibinigay natin to include cocaine, shabu and marijuana,” he told News5.
“And we have presented the result not just to pdea but to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and to the PNP (Philippine National Police) at yung gustong magtanong patungkol sa methodology o prosesong ginawa, hindi ho kami ang tamang sumagot diyan dahil hindi naman kayo maniniwala sa aming papaliwanag,” the spokesman continued.
“So the right person or group ay doon po sa dalawang institustyon na gumawa ng examination, sa PNP Crime Laboratory and St. Luke’s,” Rodriguez added.
On Thursday afternoon, St. Luke’s Medical Center issued a clarification regarding the controversial drug test document. It also urged the public to refrain from posting misleading and inaccurate information on social media.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, more commonly known as Moreno, on Thursday subjected himself to a drug test with PDEA, particularly on the use of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.
He and his running mate physician Willie Ong tested negative.
The city mayor said that all of the presidential bets should get tested for drugs voluntarily.
“Why do we require ordinary people to get tested if they are suspected, but a candidate for president doesn’t want to get tested in PDEA? It’s a double standard,” Moreno said in Filipino.
Sen. Bong Go on Wednesday said that he is willing to undergo the “most complete drug test” available.
“Walang problema sa akin, anytime, ayoko lang makipagunahan sa kanila,” he was quoted as saying before.
“Kung maaari ‘yung kumpletong drug test na talaga. Yung pinaka kumpleto na drug test,” Go added.
The lawmaker also said that he is willing to undergo a neurological test to prove that he is competent to lead the country.
The camp of retired boxer Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said that he tested negative for illegal drug use after taking anti-dope tests from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) twice this year.
His drug test results were dated July 28, 2021 and Sept. 8, 2021. Reports said it was conducted before his match against Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas.
“The test covers a wide range of performance-enhancing drugs that include anabolic agents like steroids and all stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine,” Pacquiao’s camp said.
The VADA test also covered hundreds of prohibited substances, which is more extensive than the “ordinary drug tests in the Philippines.”
Pacquiao said that athletes are required to take anti-doping tests before competing internationally.
Leody de Guzman
De Guzman on Monday said that he is willing to undergo a drug test if it is required by the Commission on Elections.
He also said that he will not fall for the “gimmick” of the Lacson-Sotto tandem.
“Hindi kami mahuhulog sa klase ng gimik na ginagawa ng tambalang Lacson-Sotto. Pero tulad ng sabi ko rin dati, kung gawing mandatory ng Comelec ang drug test, susunod ako bilang kandidato,” De Guzman said.
“Ngunit, nais ko silang paalalahanan na maaari itong paglabag sa konstitusyon na magbubukas sa marami pang paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao,” he added.
Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said that she is ready to submit to unannounced drug tests since the scheduled ones would be “self-serving.”
“You should have had the drug test randomly — unannounced. Unannounced because we know that it’s better to be random, it’s better to be unannounced so that you get what your real situation is,” she said to reporters in Filipino.
“It’s a little self-serving because when I submit, isn’t it, I will submit for a drug test. But anytime someone approaches me to request that I undergo one, I will go anytime,” Robredo added.
Duterte vs. drugs
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that the incumbent president has claimed of someone being involved in illegal drugs.
Duterte in 2019 released a list of 46 politicians who were allegedly involved in narcotics. Most of them were running as reelectionists in the then-midterm elections at that time.
Duterte in 2016 also claimed that Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of his narcotics crackdown, was allegedly involved in the drug trade.
He claimed that the senator had a driver/lover who collected money from drug sources for her senatorial campaign purposes.
De Lima was detained the following year on drug-related charges, including accepting money from convinced drug lords.
The senator denied her involvement in the drug trade and accused the administration of “political persecution” but officials maintained she is detained for violating drug laws, not because of being an opposition member.