Marcos laughs off talk on substance abuse

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos laughs off talk on substance abuse
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz answered questions from the members of the media during the joint press conference at the Chancellery as part of President Marcos' working visit to Germany on March 12, 2024.
PPA Pool Photos by Yummie Dingding

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday laughed off the claim that he was abusing illegal drugs, an allegation that stemmed from supposedly leaked documents being peddled online by his critics.

In a media interview on the sidelines of the Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations Day in Pasay, Marcos was asked to react to 2012 documents allegedly linking him and actress Maricel Soriano to narcotics use.

Marcos asked whether he and Soriano were the ones tied to illegal drugs. When he was provided with more details of the accusation, the President laughed for about six seconds before walking away.

While Marcos was leaving the venue of the event, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin told reporters that the accusation against the President was “contrived.”

The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee conducted a hearing on the alleged leak of confidential information from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last month after documents linking Marcos and Soriano to illicit drugs circulated online.?During the hearing, former PDEA intelligence officer Jonathan Morales said the documents making the rounds on social media were authentic. Morales claimed to be the investigator who obtained a statement from a confidential informant who supposedly showed photos of drug users.

The PDEA said the document referred to by Morales does not exist. In a recent statement, the anti-drug agency urged the public to be more careful about believing “fake news.”

In January, former president Rodrigo Duterte accused Marcos of being a drug addict in a prayer rally against Charter change in Davao City. When journalists sought his reaction to his predecessor’s allegation, Marcos laughed and said, “I won’t even dignify that question.”

The accusation was the reason why the relationship between Duterte’s daughter, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos had soured.

In an interview with broadcaster Anthony Taberna last month, Liza revealed that she now has a negative view of Sara because the Vice President was seen laughing when Marcos was accused of being “bangag” or high on drugs.

Reacting to Liza’s remark, Sara said her mandate as a government official is not related to the First Lady’s personal feelings.

Despite the controversy, Marcos said Sara would remain as education secretary and gave assurance that his working relationship with the Vice President was not affected by the issue.

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