Presidential, VP aspirants OK with mandatory drug testing

Maris Federez   •   October 29, 2021   •   252

MANILA, Philippines [UPDATE] — Several presidential and vice-presidential aspirants for the 2022 national elections agree on the proposition of mandatory drug testing of candidates.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said this will determine whether there are candidates who use illegal drugs or are drug dependents.

He said campaigning against illegal drugs is an act of futility if the president himself uses illegal drugs.

“Dapat lang. Eh baka mamaya, may adik. May adik na kandidato. Can you imagine ‘pag may adik na presidente?” Moreno said.

“I mean, let’s be honest to ourselves. How can we go and campaign against drugs even the President eh nag-da-drugs? Hindi, ‘di ba? We have to. Why not? Ako, OK ako. Call ako,” he added.

Senator Manny Pacquiao also expressed his agreement, stressing that drug testing must be done simultaneously among candidates.

“Agree ako dapat pakita natin na malinis tayo. At bago start ng campaign ay sabay-sabay na padrug test kami lahat,” Pacquiao said.

Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, in agreement, also said that that the testing must be done among all candidates.

“Agree ako sa suggestion na magkakaroon ng mandatory drug test lahat ng presidential candidates,” he said.

Senator Bato explained that if security officers are being required to undergo drug testing, presidential candidates are no exemption.

“Dapat lang! Yung security guard nga na nagbabantay lang ng isang establisimento ay required na magpa-drug test, iyon pang presidente na magbabantay at mangungulo ng buong bansa exempted sa drug test? Unfair noh?” he pointed out.

Vice President Leni Robredo also welcome the proposal to include mandatory drug testing among the requirements to all candidates.

Robredo said this will assure that candidates start with a clean slate.

“Ako, ready ako anytime. Hindi sa’kin problema ‘yon. Sa’kin, kung ire-require ‘yon, OK, lalo na dahil maraming mga kwento na ito ay lulong sa ganito. Mas mabuti na clean slate kami. So ako, anytime,” she said.

Even presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson sees no problem in going through mandatory drug testing.

“I have never been addicted to drugs all my life, so I have no problem with that,” he said.

Lacson stressed that the testing must be done at random to ensure its credibility.

“In fact, we should all undergo random testing to make it more credible. I understand drug toxins may dissipate after 72 hours,” he added.

Presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman also expressed willingness to undergo mandatory drug testing.

He, however, underscored that candidates must rather focus on the real issues the country is facing.

“Tanong ko lang kay Mayor Isko, kung mayroon ba siyang nakikita sa mga nagfile ng pagkapresidente na meron doon na adik? O yan ay paglilihis lamang dun sa mga tunay usapin? Kagaya ng problema ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina, tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng kuryente, yung matagal nang hinihingi, na problema ng mga health workers na proteksyon sa kanilang pagtatrabaho?” De Guzman said.

“Magfocus tayo doon sa isyu ng bayan, sa isyu ng masa, sa isyu ng ating mga kamanggagawa. Hindi yung magke-create ng mga usapin na di ko malaman kung saan hinuhugot,” he further said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, a vice-presidential aspirant, said he has earlier included mandatory drug testing among those who will run for public office as one of the provisions of the Dangerous Act of 2002 which he wrote.

The Supreme Court (SC), however, declared the provision unconstitutional in 2008.

“I placed that in the law I authored, RA 9165, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.  [The] SC shot it down as unconstitutional.  I do it voluntarily instead, every election,” Sotto said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, on the other hand, no one can compel any candidates to go through mandatory drug testing as it is not backed by any law.

“Pero I am not aware of any law that requires it. So, I think beyond voluntary compliance ay hindi naman po natin pupuwedeng i-prescribe iyan kasi wala pong ibang kuwalipikasyon na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas para maging kandidato kung hindi ikaw ay Pilipino at of a certain age,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Presidential aspirants launch relief assistance to areas affected by Typhoon Odette

Maris Federez   •   December 17, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao has called on his fellow aspirants to join forces in extending assistance to areas affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

Pacquiao made the appeal through his Facebook and Twitter accounts, asking other candidates in the 2022 national elections to set aside politics and join together to help the typhoon victims.

Vice President Leni Robredo, in her reply via twitter, signified her support to Pacquiao’s call.

Pacquiao thanked the vice president and offered the cargo plane he chartered to bring assistance to those affected by Typhoon Odette.

The two candidates committed to having close coordination to implement the said activity.

Meanwhile, VP Robredo said she also personally lead in receiving in-kind donations and preparing the same for distribution to the typhoon victims.

“Para mas mapabilis ang pagkilos natin, nandito po ako ngayon sa ating Campaign Volunteer Center sa Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, which we will be converting into a relief hub. We also convened our operations center dito,” Robredo said.

“Starting today, puwede na pong mag-drop off ng mga in-kind donations dito,” she added.

Robredo also appealed for volunteers to help them in repacking the goods. Details of this, she said, will be posted on their official FB page.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Leody de Guzman also responded to Pacquiao’s call.

He volunteered his group to help in the distribution of the relief goods.

“Tama yun. Napapanahon yung ganyang panawagan. Yung maraming pera, yung may bilyon bilyon 3-5 billion na uubusin na eleksyon ay maganda yung kalahati niyan ibigay sa mga taga Mindanao dahil sa nangangailangan sila duon. Katulad ko at Rj nakahanda kami sa makinarya sa distribusyon ng kanilang ipamimigay,” de Guzman said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said that should Senator Pacquiao made his appeal personal through private communication, he could have acquiesced and joined the call.

He said he will also send his reply privately and will offer his resources.

But since, Lacson said, the appeal was made through social media, responding to it will violate his principles, saying ‘calamity politics’ is the lowest form of campaigning.

“Since it was done through media – it goes against my principled belief that ‘calamity politics’ is the lowest form of campaigning. In fact, I consider it abominable,” Lacson said.

As in the past, he and his friends and supporters send help to those affected by calamities without media coverage.

“As in the past calamities, my Senate office, as well as friends and supporters, assisted without fanfare and without any media coverage. We did it in Cagayan Valley, and Bicol region, and some other areas hit by strong typhoons,” he said.

He emphasized that election or no election, his team is always ready to help.

For his part, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno asked the city council led by its Presiding officer Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna to hold a special session and pass a resolution to allocate funds to be used in sending help to families affected by Typhoon Odette.

“I have already asked the presiding officer of the City Council, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, to immediately hold a special session and a resolution be passed allocating a certain sum of money for the typhoon victims in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Mayor Isko said.

Moreno’s camp has also launched a donation drive and urged the participation of all who can help and coordinate with his office.

Meanwhile, the tandem of former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio used their volunteers in distributing relief goods in areas hit by Typhoon Odette.

The BBM-Sara Uniteam prepared relief packs containing 5 kilos of rice, canned goods, milk, and coffee.

On his Facebook page, Marcos thanked all who sent help to his office and their headquarters.

“Marami pong salamat sa lahat ng nagparating ng agarang tulong sa ating mga tanggapan at headquarters. Mahalagang maitawid ito sa ating mga kababayan sa lalong madaling panahon,” Marcos said.

“Ipakita natin ang pagbabayanihang Pilipino na siyang magbabangon sa atin mula anumang sakuna,” he added. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Duterte’s endorsement of candidate, a game-changer — analyst  

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — An endorsement from an incumbent president provides a huge advantage to a candidate.

For the coming national and local elections, an endorsement from President Rodrigo Duterte can be a game changer for a candidate and change the status of his or her candidacy, according to political analyst and senior research fellow of the Ateneo Policy Center Atty. Michael Henry Yusingco.

“But definitely kapag naendorso ka ng isang politico, especially if that is the incumbent president who enjoys the high popularity rating, it’s going to be a big boost. But is it going to bring victory? Of course, it’s not,” Yusingco said.

He added that, with the country’s political climate, being a game changer will still depend on how much the President will put on as support to his chosen candidate.

“So yung power nung endorsement to be a game-changer will depend on the willingness and enthusiasm of President Duterte to work hard for the candidate that he wants to endorse,” Yusingco said.

Yusingco explained that a candidate’s chance of winning does not only depend on the mere endorsement of the President, but also on what he or she is capable of.

“Siyempre yung endorsement din naman is also dependent on the quality of the candidate he wants to endorse. Kumbaga wala namang kwenta ang endorsement kung walang kwenta ang kandidato na ieendorso niya. Meaning, wala namang chance of winning at all,” Yusingco said.

Following Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go’s withdrawal of his candidacy for president in the 2022 national elections, opinions rise on who President Duterte will choose to endorse and give his support.

To date, the president is yet to announce his chosen presidential aspirant who he thinks will continue the reforms and programs he has started. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Pacquiao wants to remove Cusi as PDP-Laban President; Cusi-wing retaliates

Maris Federez   •   December 3, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao is gunning to unite the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) by making peace with the party members.

“Yung mga nasa Cusi Wing, susuporta sa’kin, magpapasalamat ako para ma-unite ulit yung PDP,” Pacquiao said.

But the lawmaker said, to achieve unity within the party, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi must step down as the president of the PDP-Laban Cusi-wing.

“Si Cusi tanggalin na sa officer sa PDP kung may katungkulan man siya kasi nadadamay yung mga members na iba. Kasi may vested interest siya eh. Secretary ka ng Energy. May problema pa tayo sa kuryente tapos pulitika nang pulitika. Magserbisyo ka. Maghanap ka ng paraan para mapamura mo yung singil ng kuryente,” Pacquiao pointed out.

Cusi did not comment on Pacquaio’s statement, but Atty. Melvin Matibag retaliated on his behalf.

Matibag told Pacquiao to focus on strengthening his candidacy rather than picking a fight with  someone who is not a candidate.

“Senator Pacquiao must focus on the strength of his candidacy than trying to pick a fight with a non-candidate. Secretary Cusi remains as the President of the PDP Laban,” Matibag said.

Matibag said Cusi will remain as the president of the PDP-Laban Cusi-wing after being elected by the majority of the party which was witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the party’s chairman.

“He was placed there in an election presided and witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Chairman of the Party,” he added.

Matibag also slammed Pacquiao’s statement which he said was “clearly misplaced and not properly thought out”.

To date, the ruling party is yet to decide whom to support as president in the 2022 national elections. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)


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