Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has revealed that a one-time presidential candidate is a cocaine user who recently confessed to voting in every election going back to 1986.
He refused to reveal the name of the candidate, but said it could only happen “in the Philippines”.
Cocaine was used for about two years as a vote-buying drug in the 1980s, he said.
Mr Duterte admitted that he had once consumed drugs, although without a “high”, in a previous time as mayor of Davao city.
“About three months ago a presidential candidate from Mindanao acknowledged that he voted in every election [going back to the 1960s] – and they were all able to vote and bring the votes back in,” Mr Duterte said on the Radio Joal programme on Friday.
“They’re sitting there like they want to win the election. They came back here to see me.”
He explained that the presidential candidate had had a “last-minute” confession at a political rally in Davao on the campaign trail, and the disclosure has since been corroborated by witnesses.
“After they were elected – when this presidential candidate has already concluded his entire campaign, he is [sic] back here because of his aspirations… by admitting that he voted in every election [in the Philippines]. It’s true,” the president said.
He also admitted to smoking marijuana “three to four times” in the past and drinking alcohol at concerts.
However, he insisted that he had always told voters about his habits.
‘Love for Fil-Am’
For a long time, his approach to politics was synonymous with drugs, corruption and gun-running
“That is why I wanted to tell these boys, ‘Hi… I have a love for Fil-Am’, if it won’t disappoint you,” he said, referring to himself and the corruption rampant in the country.
“At least these things don’t bother me,” he said.
But, he added: “I tell [those who eat karaoke and use alcohol] when I am with you, ‘Who are you? Are you a Fil-Am? How can you even start talking like this?'”
“I say ‘why are you on drugs? You want to win your country?’ You had no opportunity to work, to start a family, everything is given to you. And at least work your way up, and if you don’t have anything, okay.”
Mr Duterte was declared a candidate in this month’s elections after declaring himself a candidate earlier this year – and was already being trailed by rumours about his past drug habits.
But Mr Duterte said, “I am working for [my] country. If you will judge me on what I do for your mother, your father, your sister and your child, whatever I have done, what I have done, I don’t have a second chance.”
But despite the confession from the politician, President Duterte denied that the drug abuse at the heart of his campaign is fraud.
His detractors are angry at his self-proclaimed popularity, accusing him of promoting lawlessness in the country and neglecting poverty in the country’s provinces.
“People say, ‘you are the cause of the crime, of the problem’,” he said.
“If crime goes down, it is because I have solved problems. That is why I have been saying, ‘I am going to be in this public position, I am not going to get involved in all the issues here’,” he said.
Mr Duterte expressed hope that his action against drugs will have the chance to work in tandem with his fight against crime, corruption and poverty.
“If [people] believe that I am going to solve the problem, I am going to solve the problem,” he said.
“For instance, if I talk about buying more fish, of course there will be more fish.
“Then you do not have to buy because if you have bought now you will not go there to pay, so you buy more because people believe I am going to solve the problem.”