The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said substance abuse was not a pretext to disqualification, after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed a presidential candidate was using cocaine.

“Substance abuse is not among the disqualifications provided for by law,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.

Jimenez said the Comelec had tried to require candidates to submit a negative drug test in the past.

“The move was disapproved by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Duterte said a certain presidential candidate from a well-known and rich family and was leading the presidential race was a drug user.

Malacañang said Duterte was made aware of the candidate’s drug use thanks to intel reports.

“Si pangulo, siyempre [he] has access to many sources including mga intel reports. On naming the said individual, we will leave it to the sound judgment of the president,” acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said.

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said she was in support of surprise drug tests for candidates and urged the president to file a case against the unnamed drug-using candidate.

“Kung mayroong ebidensiya, kailangan ilabas. Kung merong ebidensiya, kailangang kasuhan,” she said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro