Drug testing among poll candidates should be voluntary--Roque

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would voluntarily take a drug test had he chosen to become a candidate in the upcoming May 2022 polls.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo from Harry Roque's Facebook)

However, Roque, a lawyer, quickly pointed out that there is no law that requires election aspirants to take a drug test.

"Well, number one ‘no, kung ako ay kandidato, boluntaryo kong gagawin iyan para additional basis na ako ay piliin ng taumbayan (If I were a candidate, I would do that voluntarily to serve as additional basis for the people to vote for me). Pero (But) I am not aware of any law that requires it," he said during a recent virtual press briefing.

The Palace mouthpiece was giving his take on proposals to impose a drug test rule on candidates in next year's polls. This was floated after the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) last month.

"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 (that cannot be prescribed since the Constitution doesn't state any qualifications for candidates aside from being Filipino and reaching a certain age)," Roque explained.

His statement echoed a Supreme Court (SC) ruling in 2008, which said that requiring election hopefuls to undergo drug testing would violate the 1987 Charter.

Roque was earlier endorsed as a guest candidate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in its senatorial slate. However, the former congressman has opted not to run for a Senate seat following presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's decision not to run for president next year.

Duterte-Carpio, a frontrunner in popularity surveys, is gunning for a third term as local chief executive.

Roque has said that he's convinced Duterte-Carpio would no longer change her mind as to her 2022 plans.