Bongbong Marcos says he took drug test after Duterte’s cocaine-user claim

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021   •   567

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he underwent a drug test following President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that a presidential aspirant is using cocaine.

In a statement, Marcos said he took the test on Monday and submitted the result Tuesday morning to law enforcement agencies.

He also reiterated his camp’s earlier statement that he doesn’t feel being alluded to by the president’s remarks.

“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,” he said.

“This is why I took a cocaine test yesterday and the result was submitted this morning to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Office of the Chief of the PNP, and the National Bureau of Investigation. Let me reiterated my assurance to my fellowmen, especially the supporters of BBM-Sara Uniteam, that I am, and will remain, a vigilant anti-illegal drugs campaigner,” he added, referring to his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

He then called on his fellow political aspirants to take the drug test “to ensure our people, particularly the young generation, that no elected leader is into illegal substances.”

The Commission on Elections earlier said that candidates in the upcoming elections are not compelled to submit themselves to mandatory drug testing, citing a Supreme Court ruling that stated a previous order as unconstitutional. (with reports from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Duterte names new chiefs for AFP Western, Northern Luzon commands

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated new chiefs for the Northern Luzon and Western Commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Palace said Duterte has approved the appointment of Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, the current commander of the Philippine Navy, as the new chief of the AFP Western Command.

He will replace Rear Admiral Roberto Enriquez starting January 24.

Duterte also appointed Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., the current commander of the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division, as the new chief of the AFP Northern Luzon Command.

He will replace Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. effective January 7.

“We wish both officers all the best in their new tours of duty, and we are confident that they will continue to perform their mandate to serve our people and to secure our nation with professionalism, integrity, and dedicated service,” the Palace said.

In a separate statement, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the appointment of the new officers to the two commands of the AFP “tasked with protecting the country’s northern and western frontiers.”

Lorenzana also confirmed the assumption of Major General Nestor Herico as the new commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps effective February 21. He will replace retiring Major General Ariel Caculitan.

“As these gentlemen assume their new roles in the organization, I am confident that they will rise to the occasion and effectively lead our troops in securing our nation and our people,” the DND chief said.

Opposition coalition 1Sambayan to endorse 7 senatorial bets for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The opposition coalition 1Sambayan on Wednesday bared the initial list of senatorial candidates it will be endorsing for the May 2022 national and local elections.

In a statement, 1Sambayan said the following personalities will get its support in the upcoming polls:

  • Chel Diokno
  • Leila De Lima
  • Teddy Baguilat
  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Alex Lacson
  • Sonny Matula
  • Antonio Trillanes IV

According to 1Sambayan convenor Atty. Howard Calleja, the coalition will formally announce the endorsement of the full senatorial slate on January 28.

The group is supporting the tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis Pangilinan who are running for president and vice president, respectively.

COMELEC to provide free online campaign airtime for 2022 national bets

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said it has launched an official platform that will provide free live streaming of e-rallies of national candidates for the 2022 national and local elections.

In a news release, the COMELEC said the platform, called Campaign S.A.F.E COMELEC e-Rally Channel, will provide e-rally airtime to all bona fide candidates for President, Vice President, Senator, and party-list organizations.

Each candidate for president and vice president will be granted 10-minute airtime for each of three slots in a night, while Senate candidates will be given three minutes for every five slots a night.

Party-list groups will be provided with three minutes each for five slots per night while political parties will have 10 minutes each for three slots.

The poll body said the platform will begin the live streaming by February 8, 2022, when the campaign period for national candidates starts.

“The COMELEC is set to release a schedule of e-rally timeslots for each elective position. Beginning February 8, 2022, live streaming of e-rallies will be conducted every night on the official social media channels of the COMELEC,” it said.

“Every night, there shall be three presidential and three vice-presidential 10-minute slots, and 10 party-list 3-minute slots,” it added.

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said the commission will issue the pertinent guidelines on how the candidates and party-list organizations can participate in the e-rally channel.

“This platform can help ensure that even those candidates who have less in followers can still have more in views and exposure, so to speak,” he added.

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