Marcos, Lacson and Sotto's voluntary drug testing is their call --- Nograles

It's up to the election hopefuls whether or not they want to undergo drug testing.

(Clockwise) Former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Senator Tito Sotto, Senator Ping Lacson (MANILA BULLETIN)

This was basically Malacañang's reaction Tuesday, Nov. 23, even as it acknowledged that several aspiring candidates for national positions next year have subjected themselves to drug tests.

These candidates include presidential aspirants former Senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr., Senator Panfilo 'Ping' Lacson; and vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente 'Tito' III Sotto.

"That's voluntary...It's entirely up to these candidates," Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press conference.

"Even if hindi siya kasama sa mga (it's not part of the) requirements for candidates whether presidential, vice presidential, senator or kung ano mang position (or whatever position). It's purely voluntary. Nasa kanila po yun kung mag-voluntary drug test sila para isa-publiko na sila ay drug-free (It's up to them if they want to undergo voluntary drug test to show the public that they are drug-free)," Nograles said.

It reported Monday, Nov. 22 that the tandem of Lacson and Sotto underwent an ‘’encompassing holistic drug test’’ at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Earlier Tuesday, the camp of Marcos bared that he subjected himself to a drug test at a hospital in Metro Manila and turned out negative. The results were subsequently sent to PDEA.

Asked if the Palace would encourage Marcos to take a drug at PDEA itself, Nograles said: "It's up to them how they will conduct their drug tests."

"This is really purely voluntary act for any candidate in position. So it's really up to them how they would want to conduct their voluntary drug test and if they want to submit it to the public. Nasa kanila po yun (It's up to them)," he said, reiterating his earlier answer.

Last week, Nograles reckoned that the public would continue to call on poll bets to take part in drug tests, even if they're not a legal requirement for running in the elections.