A vehicle bearing photos of Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara Duterte passes by outside the Commission on Elections in Manila. File / AP
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 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.
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.
Robredo, who was elected separately to Duterte and has a frosty relationship with the president, said the thousands of people killed was already too many, with no evidence of a decline in drugs supply or usage.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has ordered the suspension of all loan and grant talks with foreign governments that backed a United Nations resolution to
Nations like France and South Korea began resuming face-to-face classes as they got their outbreaks under control, but Philippine authorities see the risk as too great. President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that even if students could not graduate, they needed to stay out of school to fight the spread of the disease.
Education officials and concerned group of parents noted that the law restored the GMRC as a mandatory school subject seven years after it was removed from the basic curriculum with the introduction of K-to-12 programme in 2013.
"It is either something they ingested which will point to poisoning, whether its food or drinks, or it is something they inhaled," says official.
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The government has told employees to work from home until further notice, while schools have been shut for a week in the commercial capital of Colombo and surrounding areas.
Sheikh Sultan has honoured Jordan’s 7Hills for Social Development, winner of the 6th edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support at the House of Wisdom, in the presence of Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed.