By Eric San Juan
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Nov 28 (EFE).- Presidential candidates running in the May 2022 Philippine elections are racing to show negative drug tests after the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, claimed one of the hopefuls is a drug user.
“We have a candidate who uses cocaine,” Duterte said during a speech a week ago, without specifying who.
But the incumbent, who has registered to run for a seat in the Senate in next year’s elections, gave enough clues for people to believe he is referring to presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the former dictator who ruled the Philippines between 1965 and 1986.
“Why have the Filipinos gone crazy supporting him? What has this person done for the Philippines? All he does is do drugs, consume cocaine. You will see if this is what you want. Just remember, when the time comes, that he is a weak leader, except for the name. His father, yes, but what has he done?” the president said.
In a country dominated by political dynasties, there are multiple people whom Duterte could have been referring to, but his description of the mystery cocaine addict as a “weak leader” is the same one he had used to refer to Marcos Jr just days ago.
Marcos, who said he did not think he was the one being alluded to, underwent a drug test Wednesday and said that he is “against illegal drugs.”
Before Marcos published his test results, presidential hopeful Panfilo Lacson and his vice presidential running mate Vicente Sotto also tested negative for any illegal substances.
Presidential and vice-presidential nominees Francisco Domagoso and Willie Ong underwent the drug test Thursday.
Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who is also running for the presidency, has not taken any tests yet, but he had sent his blood analysis earlier to media outlets showing that it did not contain any illegal drugs.