MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday it was okay for candidates running for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) to voluntarily submit their drug test results, after the interior department challenged them to do so.
Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said while they are not encouraging candidates to undergo drug tests, they would not reject test results.
The official said this is not required for candidates, noting the Surpeme Court decision in 2008 or the Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board case.
"Ang amin lamang pahayag ay kung mayroong mga kandidato na gustong mag-submit sa amin ay tatanggapin namin ito at ito ay maganda para sa kanila," Laudiangco said in a televised briefing.
"Ang mga kandidato naman natin na gustong magsama ng plataporma de gobyerno ay puwede iyan isama sa certificate of candidacy na isa-submit sa amin," he added.
Laudiangco said based on current rules, local officials should follow guidelines on citizenship, age requirement, residency, and should not have any disqualifying cases but they could not add anything more.
"Pero wala naman pong makakapigil sa ating mga kandidato na kung mismong sila ay boluntaryo po na ipapakita, ibibigay sa Comelec iyong kanilang negative drug testing certificate at sa tingin ko po ay makakatulong din po ito sa kanila, basta po boluntaryo itong ginagawa," he said.
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Thursday urged local candidates to submit drug test results, saying this shows their good faith to the public.
This comes as the administration continues to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs, and after the Philippine National Police said it was monitoring over 400 barangay officials who were allegedly linked to the drug trade.
Meanwhile, the Comelec said it would intensify its crackdown on vote-buying, and warned candidates they could be disqualified if proven they were doing this.
Laudiangco said the public should expect more information campaign with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
"Lahat ito ay kasama namin mula sa pagpapahayag noong mga impormasyon para alam ng taumbayan na ito ay isang kriminal na offense po na may pagkakakulong, mayroong accessory penalty na matatanggalan ka ng karapatang pumasok sa kahit na anong puwesto sa gobyerno, pati na rin mababawi ang iyong karapatang bumoto," he said.
Comelec vowed to help with the complaint, case buildup, case filing, and the eventual conviction of the people involved, he said.
"hinihiling namin sa ating mga kababayan, samahan ninyo po kami sa laban na ito dahil kung hindi po namin kayo kasama ito po ay magpapatuloy, isang vicious cycle na napakahirap putulin, ngunit kung magsasama-sama po tayo ay kaya po nating magapi itong vote-buying at vote-selling."