Marcos' 2021 negative drug test result brought up in Senate 'PDEA leaks' hearing

Marcos' 2021 negative drug test result brought up in Senate 'PDEA leaks' hearing
This photo release shows former Sen.Bongbong Marcos announcing he will run for president of the Philippines.
BBM staff / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of the hospital that administered the drug test of then-presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2021 assured senators there was nothing irregular with how the test, which produced negative results, was conducted.

Two representatives from St. Luke's Medical Center - Global City's (SLMC-BGC) told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that Marcos did test negative for cocaine and that there was nothing unusual with the three minutes it took to see the results after the test was administered.

The Senate dangerous drugs and public order committee is currently leading a probe into supposed documents by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) linking Marcos to illegal drug use. 

Senate panel chair Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said that he stands by the legitimacy of the documents in question even as the PDEA itself has denied its authenticity.

Cecilia Lim, head of the SLMC-BGC drug testing laboratory, said that Marcos' drug test results came out in two minutes and 54 seconds, which is within the maximum waiting time of five minutes.

Meanwhile, Geresza Reyes, the drug analyst of the SLMC-BGC who signed the drug test report, said that the drug test kit produced a line that showed Marcos tested negative for cocaine.

"As for the analysis, a line appeared. In our drug test kit, there's a control line and a line for the drug analyte. In the result, a line indeed appeared indicating negative," Reyes said in Filipino.

Asked by senators to clarify whether Marcos tested negative for all drugs, Fernandez said that Marcos only requested to be tested for cocaine.

This made Sen. Chiz Escudero comment that drug tests should test for all substances, not just cocaine but also shabu and marijuana, which he said were "poor man's drugs." 

"That reveals a loophole in so far as drug testing is concerned in (law enforcement agencies)," Escudero said, adding that he will ask the Dangerous Drugs Board to come up with guidelines related to the matter. 

During his presentation, Francis del Valle, head of PDEA's legal division, said that the two documents that former PDEA agent Jonathan Morales claims to be true are "purely fabricated."

Speaking on behalf of PDEA, Del Valle pointed out that the alleged "pre-operation report" and "authority to operate" documents do not have PDEA control numbers, which indicate that these were never submitted to the PDEA. 

The documents are also "incomplete and marred with redactions," according to the drug enforcement agency.

Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada asked Del Valle: "If an agent prepares a pre-operation report and does not submit it, let's say he hesitated or perhaps he was scared or paid off... And as you testified, it's not in your records. Is that document confidential? Is that document part of official records?" 

Del Valle said that the documents would not be part of PDEA's official record. "It may be just the personal files of the resource person," he added. 

The PDEA official added that Morales did not follow standard procedure by failing to bring up the findings of his alleged inteview with a confidential informant to his direct supervisor. 

Dela Rosa said in his opening statement that he believes some of Morales' testimonies, while there are other testimonies he doubts. 

"I am putting my life on the line for this hearing as far as objectivity and neutrality is concerned," the senator added.

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