'Maski solvent, hindi': Isko, Willie Ong undergo voluntary drug testing

Just like other 2022 candidates, the tandem of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and doctor Willie Ong submitted themselves voluntarily to drug tests before the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The two trooped to PDEA's national headquarters in Quezon City on Thursday, November 25, to get tested for illegal drugs methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.

Moreno and Ong even posed in front of cameras holding up bottles of their urine samples.

Moments later, they were issued PDEA certification that they both tested negative for the illegal substances.

At the PDEA office, the 47-year-old presidential aspirant expressed support for Duterte's controversial campaign against illegal drugs.

"Ito rin ay isang maliit naming kaparaanan ni Doc Willie na sinusuportahan ang war on drugs ng ating Pangulong Duterte, being a candidate," he said.

(This is also a small way for me and Doc Willie to support the war on drugs of President Duterte, being a candidate.)

Moreno said all presidential candidates should get tested for drugs voluntarily.

"Why do we require ordinary people to get tested if they are suspected but a candidate for president doesn't want to get tested in PDEA? It's a double standard," he said in Filipino.

Of the other 2022 candidates who recently underwent drug tests, only presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. got tested in a private hospital and not in PDEA. Marcos, however, submitted the hospital test result to PDEA.

Duterte's cocaine claims

The day before, Moreno announced their intention to undergo drug testing after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that a male presidential candidate is into cocaine.

"I have never been into drugs, maski solvent o ano pa (not even solvent or any other substance). I have nothing to hide," said Moreno on Wednesday.

He said he was willing to get a drug test in order to give assurances to Filipinos that he is staunchly against illicit drugs and would thus credibly carry out an anti-drugs campaign if he were to win as president.

"Tama naman 'yung mga tao, 'pag ikaw ay president at ikaw ay drug user, how can you fight against drugs?" said Moreno.

(The people are right in thinking, if you are president and a drug user, how can you fight against drugs?)

Moreno previously said he would still carry out a war against drugs but that the campaign would abide by rule of law and would ensure justice for any victims of abuse.

Who else has taken a drug test?

Four other candidates for the highest posts in the land have either taken a drug test or showed a negative drug test result after Duterte's allegations.

Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III had theirs done last Monday, November 22. Their campaign team sent media videos of their visit to PDEA.

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr., meanwhile, sent media a copy of a negative test result for drugs issued by St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig. The test was taken on Monday as well, based on the document.

Marcos' running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte underwent a drug test as well on Wednesday, November 24.

Duterte's description of the alleged cocaine user also includes claims that the presidential candidate benefits from a famous father and is likely to win the presidential race based on surveys. This description fits Marcos best out of all the other presidential candidates, yet Marcos said he "does not feel alluded to."

Meanwhile, Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo is yet to take a drug test as of writing but has publicly backed mandatory drug testing for 2022 candidates. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.