Philippines police check into presidential hopefuls

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President Rodrigo Duterte during the first part of his ‘Talk to the People’ session on Monday. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Background checking of presidential aspirants for the 2022 national elections is ongoing, the Philippine National Police (PNP) leaders assured the public following President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest remarks that the “most corrupt” candidate is seeking the Malacanang seat.

At January 26’s press briefing, PNP chief Gen Dionardo Carlos said it is not up to them to name names, as their work only involves submitting reports to their superiors, which they promised to do to ensure clean elections.

“Continuous naman po ‘yon [background checking]. At the end of the day, we will not jump the gun, we are not directed to name names, so we’ll just do our work, submit our report to the leadership or to our command line, and make sure that whatever our results are, are reported to the leadership,” he told reporters.

“So yes, we are studying. We are not just looking at different levels. We need to investigate who is running, what the past is so that we can properly prepare what is possible and take action to ensure peaceful elections for everyone,” he said.

In the second part of his Talk to the People aired on the morning of January 25, Carlos’ statement came after the chief executive said that he would name the “most corrupt” of the presidential bets before the May 9 polls.

Duterte said that this is part of his obligation as head of state. But aside from that, he said that one of the candidates “really cannot be a president” while another candidate can be elected but is “too corrupt”.

Duterte has made accusations against presidential candidates before. On November 20, 2021, the president declared that one of the presidential candidates had used cocaine, adding that the aspirant eluded authorities by consuming illegal drugs on yachts or airplanes.

Regarding Duterte’s claim that a presidential aspirant does cocaine – which the PNP also promised to check – Carlos said the PNP has information about the matter but no evidence worthy of a court case just yet.

He also said he would inform the leadership of their reports and findings.

“It is because these reports are not immediately made public. From there, we get a decision from the leadership. It is not at my level because we are doing this based on the statement from the commander-in-chief,” Carlos said.

“The information is all we have,” he said when asked if they had evidence already. If there is evidence, we have already filed a lawsuit with the court since that is part of our job.”

If we have evidence and it warrants a lawsuit filed with the court, then we should have already done this,” he said.

The president did not specify who he was referring to, but many netizens pointed to former senator Bongbong Marcos.

A spokesperson for Marcos’ camp said that the former senator did not feel that he was being alluded to by Duterte since he submitted to a negative drug test.