Philippines’ leader Duterte says cocaine user among presidential election candidates - GulfToday

Philippines’ leader Duterte says cocaine user among presidential election candidates


A vehicle bearing photos of Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara Duterte passes by outside the Commission on Elections in Manila. File / AP

Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte dropped a bombshell as he revealed that a presidential candidate in the coming May 2022 elections, who belongs to a “wealthy family” and whose patriarch is “well known,” is allegedly into illegal drugs especially cocaine.

However, Duterte did not identify the candidate as he also questioned his qualifications to lead the nation as well as his contributions to national welfare describing him as a “weak leader.”

“And he is a weak leader – his character except for the name. The father (was) but him? What has he accomplished? He may win hands down okay if that’s what the Filipinos want. Go ahead as long as you know.”

The issue was a hit on Philippines social media on Friday, with speculation on the mystery candidate running wild, including under the hashtag #solidsnort.

A police spokesperson said they had no idea who the president was referring to.

Duterte-VPcandidate Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of senator Christopher 'Bong' Go after he filed his candidacy for president in the 2022 elections. AFP

Duterte made the revelation during a meeting of the anti-insurgency task force in the island provinces of Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental in Southern Luzon where he also endorsed his anointed presidential candidate Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

The president repeatedly used the pronoun “he” in referring to the candidate who is obviously a male. “What has this person done? I am just asking,” he said. “What contribution has he made for the Philippines? That is what I wanted to ask. Why are the Filipinos so crazy about this person?”

He also questioned the “fascination” that the followers have on this candidate as he asked if they “really know him.” He told the followers: “It’s up to you what kind of person you want. That’s yours to decide and I have already given you a warning.”

Karlo Nograles, the cabinet secretary and the acting presidential spokesman, said it was up to Duterte to identify the candidate. He was responding to questions from reporters why the president identified the “narcopoliticians” who were in the list of those involved in illegal drugs.

“It’s up to the president’s sound judgement to identify the candidate,” Nograles said. He explained that as the president, Duterte is privy to vital information, including intelligence information, on the war on drugs, among others.

Sara-Duterte-supporters Supporters of Sara Duterte (pictured on banner),  shout slogans as they wait for her in front of the commission on elections office in Manila. AFP

Taking questions from media on Friday, the election commission said substance abuse was not grounds for disqualifying candidates.

Pacquiao on Friday said he supported drug testing candidates.

At that time, Duterte named the politicians in the list for their involvement in illegal drugs, which he made as the centerpiece of his campaign when he became president. Critics denounced the campaign for its alleged rampant human rights violation, which also led to the filing of crimes against humanity against Duterte before the UN-backed International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands.

This developed as lawyer Victor Rodriguez, the chief of staff and spokesman of presidential candidate former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the only son and namesake of the late dictator, said  they were not alluded to by Duterte’s revelation.


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