Comelec spox denies requesting drug test of 2022 vice presidential bet

November 26, 2021 - 2:10 PM
Blood and urine test
Image by Jason Taix from Pixabay

An official of the Commission of Elections denied that the poll body has requested a drug test of a vice presidential candidate, contrary to what was indicated in the copy of the latter’s drug test results.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on Thursday answered a Twitter user’s query about the drug test report released by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the running mate of presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“The COMELEC requested this? @jabjimenez,” the online user said, sharing a copy of the city mayor’s drug test which was uploaded on the latter’s Facebook page.

The “Commission of Elections” was tagged as the requesting party in the test result.

“The COMELEC made no such request,” Jimenez responded to the Twitter user who asked about the commission’s supposed involvement.

Other Filipinos commented that the vice presidential bet has the option to place for “client’s personal request” instead of tagging the poll body under the “requesting parties” option of the report.

“That candidate knows it’s not required by Comelec. Pwede naman client’s personal request only, rather than imbento. No need idamay ‘yung agency,” a Twitter user claimed.

Last November, Jimenez said that substance abuse “is not among the disqualifications provided for by law” for electoral candidates.

“In any case, Comelec did try to require candidates to submit a negative drug test several elections ago. The move was disapproved by the SC [Supreme Court],” he said in an interview.

A 2009 Supreme Court ruling said that the mandatory drug testing of electoral candidates was “unconstitutional” as there is only a maximum of five qualifications required for candidacy — citizenship, voter registration, literacy, age and residency.

“The right of a citizen in the democratic process of election should not be defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement not otherwise specified in the Constitution,” the high court said in its ruling.

Duterte-Carpio took the drug test on Wednesday, a day after the result of her running mate’s own drug test was announced to the public.

Her drug test report said that she tested negative for cocaine, ecstasy, opium, barbiturates, amphetamine and other substances.

The vice presidential aspirant said that she took the drug test “voluntarily” upon the request of her running mate “to support the call for transparency as aspiring public officials seeking the trust of our fellow Filipinos.”

Duterte-Carpio said that their stand against illegal drugs “is united and unequivocal.”

“This can be seen from both our negative tests as well as our common stance against the proliferation of illegal drugs and the need for effective measures of prevention, rehabilitation, and enforcement,” she said.

The city mayor added that while the administration’s war against illegal drugs is “important,” there are “other compelling issues” that must be paid attention to.

“Therefore, it is crucial in this electoral season that we focus on the substantial qualifications of those that seek to lead our country,” Duterte-Carpio said.

Earlier this week, presidential bets have been taking drug tests after President Rodrigo Duterte, who has a “war on drugs” campaign, claimed that one of them was a “cocaine” user.

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects the brain by stimulating high levels of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward.

Its long-term effects can include changes to genetics in brain cells, nerve cells and proteins, among other permanent effects.

Duterte’s claims made headlines and days after, some presidential bets have started to subject themselves to drug tests. These include Marcos, Sen. Ping Lacson,Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

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