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By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA  —  What does it mean when a suspected drug user serves as chief executive of an entire nation?

This is the question confronting Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, whose committee is holding hearings on the country’s drug problem, which includes what appears to be evidence that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is or was a user of illegal drugs, specifically cocaine. 

One key evidence presented is a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) document linking Marcos to alleged drug use, which Dela Rosa said was “not fabricated.”

The document is the most damning piece of evidence yet against the president’s alleged drug use, which had been talked about for years, it was alleged.

Besides Mr. Marcos, actress Maricel Soriano was also linked to drug use.

 Soriano appeared before Dela Rosa’s committee on public order and dangerous drugs on Tuesday, May 7 (Philippine time) to deny being involved in drugs.

Soriano has denied any knowledge of the supposedly leaked PDEA documents linking her and President Marcos to illegal drugs.

Soriano, however, admitted owning a Rockwell condominium unit where sniffing of drugs was alleged to have been made. 

The document is a PDEA Pre-Operation Report dated March 11, 2012.

In the supposed leaked PDEA pre-operation report dated March 11, 2012, it was indicated that “a group of showbiz and politically affluent personalities are frequently using illegal drugs” inside a condominium in Makati City which turned to be once owned by Maricel Soriano.

Supporters of the president had questioned the legitimacy of the report, but Dela Rosa said, “it is existing” and was not AI generated, adding “It is not fabricated.”

Since the senator did not have the original copy of the document, he depended on a photocopy.

Still, he believed it was a true copy based on telltale signs that it was unretouched from the original, including punch holes indicating it was removed from a fastener.

PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo stated categorically that the document in Dela Rosa’s hands was a fake.

Former PDEA investigation agent Jonathan Morales, however, insisted the document was authentic. Morales has served as a star witness to the probe, and admitted that he was indeed signatory to the original document.

Dela Rosa praised Morales as being a “very straightforward” witness. Further, other PDEA agents had testified that Morales was indeed with the agency at the time the document incriminating Mr. Marcos was prepared, only to be removed later on.

Dela Rosa, who is a former Philippine National Police chief, said he wanted to give the president as well as Ms. Soriano the benefit of the doubt, saying their being implicated did not necessarily mean they were guilty.

The contents of the document still needed to be validated, he said.

Dela Rosa said that because the document stated that it was “pre-operation” only meant that there was raw information on the named personalities alleged drug use.

 Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, meanwhile,  reminded his colleagues to be careful in the conduct of public inquiries, which he said should not be used for political persecution.

Zubiri issued the reminder after monitoring the public hearing conducted by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Senator Dela Rosa where, the Senate President noted, “very serious accusations have been made” without evidence.

“While certain claims were made, documentary evidence is yet to be presented. There were no pictures, no corroborating testimonies. In other words, this was solely based on the testimony of one person based on what appears to be hearsay evidence,” he said.

Zubiri noted that former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales presented a document, “which he claims to have seen, by virtue of his former position, although he did not personally witness any wrongdoing.”

Senator Jose Jinggoy Estrada said he is convinced that Morales is a “liar” and might be the one who leaked the supposedly confidential documents of PDEA allegedly containing the names of President Marcos and other well-known personalities.

Last week, House of Representatives Deputy Majority Leader and Tingog Partylist Rep. Jude Acidre, Isabela 6th District Rep. Faustino “Inno” Dy, and Assistant Majority Leader and Taguig City 2nd District Rep. Amparo Maria Zamora said the former agent’s testimony is part of a “larger effort to discredit and destabilize” the current administration.

It is worth noting that the now controversial document came out in 2012, when the drug menace was only beginning to be acknowledged as posing a growing threat.

The president then was the late Benigno Aquino lll, who was succeeded by Rodrigo Duterte, who went on to launch one of the world’s deadliest war on drugs. As PNP chief, Dela Rosa took charge of that drug war and the “tokhang” operations that targeted mostly poor, young men suspected of being drug users or pushers.

Duterte has accused Marcos of being a drug user or dependent in his on again, off again attacks. Duterte has also cited the PDEA as a source of his information on the current president’s alleged drug use.

Besides his political allies, government officials have circled their wagons around the chief executive, including the current leadership of PDEA.

After Marcos assumed the presidency, PDEA debunked what it called “fake” documents incriminating the president.

PDEA said it ran a thorough check and found no operation was logged on the March 11, 2012 date stated on the document.

The Civil Service Commission also warned that whoever leaked the document may face sanctions, with CSC Director IV lawyer Alma Flores-Foronda saying the unnamed whistleblower faces up to 10 years imprisonment for divulging confidential information.

Speaking in the vernacular, Flores-Foronda said divulging confidential information was punishable under two laws. One is the code of conduct and ethical standards for government officials and employees, and the other the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

For now, a cloud of doubt hangs over the head of President  Marcos Jr, whether he was in the past or is still in the present time a drug user.

Marcos laughed off the allegations and  refused to take a valid drug test as suggested by his former executive secretary Vic Rodriguez.


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