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Philippine Presidential aspirant Marcos Jr tested for cocaine

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Marcos Jr is among the frontrunners to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte in 2022

THE PHILIPPINES: The son and namesake of the Philippines’ former dictator Ferdinand Marcos said Tuesday 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 he was tested Monday and had submitted the result to three police agencies.

He told a local broadcaster he had tested negative. “I really don’t feel that I am the one being alluded to,” said Marcos Jr, popularly known as “Bongbong”.

“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. This is why I took a cocaine test yesterday.”

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 Monday.

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 per cent of voter support.

He was followed by incumbent vice president and leading opposition candidate Leni Robredo (18 per cent) and celebrity mayor Francisco Domagoso (13 per cent).

Retired boxing champion and senator Manny Pacquiao was fourth with 9 per cent, followed by Senator Panfilo Lacson with 5 per cent.

Sara Duterte, his daughter, had been widely expected to run for president, and potentially protect him from criminal charges in the Philippines and International Criminal Court prosecutors over his deadly drug war.

But she 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. – THE MALAY MAIL

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 01:00

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