THE son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos (pic) said he took a cocaine test after President Rodrigo Duterte accused an unnamed presidential candidate of using the illegal drug.
Marcos Jr, who is among the frontrunners seeking to succeed Duterte in 2022, said in a statement yesterday that he was tested on Monday and submitted the result to three police agencies.
He told a local broadcaster he tested negative.
“I really don’t feel that I am the one being alluded to.
“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.
“That’s why I took a cocaine test on Monday,” said Marcos Jr, popularly known as “Bongbong”.
Duterte, who has waged a deadly war on drugs that has killed thousands of people, has not identified the candidate he claims uses cocaine.
At times, he has referred to them using male pronouns.
“There’s a candidate who was using cocaine – you can ask the rich people,” Duterte said on Monday.
“Why did I not arrest that person? You don’t know the rich, they go on a yacht or in the air, that’s where they snort.”
A leaked survey conducted in October by respected polling outfit Social Weather Stations reportedly showed Marcos Jr as the top preference for president with 47% of voter support.
He was followed by incumbent vice-president and leading opposition candidate Leni Robredo (18%) and celebrity mayor Francisco Domagoso (13%).
Retired boxing champion and senator Manny Pacquiao was fourth with 9%, followed by Senator Panfilo Lacson with 5%.
Lacson said yesterday that he and his vice-presidential running mate, Senator Vicente Sotto, had voluntarily undergone “multi-drug testing” on Monday.
He said they had “passed”.
Pacquiao, who has admitted using marijuana and crystal meth in his youth, said he supported mandatory drug testing for those seeking a government post.
Domagoso on Friday also denied using drugs.
Duterte has been an ally of the controversial Marcos family, which had gone into exile in the United States after the patriarch’s humiliating downfall in 1986.
But recently Duterte has been publicly critical of Marcos Jr, describing him as a “weak leader... saddled with baggage”.
Sara Duterte, his daughter, has filed her candidacy for vice-president, a position which holds very little power, and formed an alliance with Marcos Jr.
In the Philippines, the president and vice-president are elected separately. — AFP