ONLY 30 OF 180 CEBU CANDIDATES TAKE DRUG TESTS

CEBU, January 26, 2004 (STAR) Only 30 out of a total of 180 candidates for elective positions in the capitol, congressional districts and the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have so far complied with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) requirement to undergo drug tests.

Not one of the four gubernatorial candidates has submitted drug test results, which should have accompanied their certificates of candidacy, according to the latest records of the Comelec provincial office.

The four aspirants are incumbent Vice Gov. John-John Osmeña (Nationalist People’s Coalition), provincial consultant Gwendolyn Garcia (Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats), former agriculture undersecretary Celestino Martinez Jr. (Independent Masa) and town councilor Jose Mari Osmeña (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan). They are among the 50 candidates for congressional and provincial seats, who have so far failed to comply with the requirement. Only eight other candidates submitted their drug test results which were all negative.

The eight are provincial board members Gregorio Sanchez (Independent Masa) and Rosemarie Durano (NPC), Rep. Joseph Ace Durano (NPC), Rep. Antonio Yapha Jr. (NPC) and his wife, board member Estrella Yapha (NPC), Toledo City councilor Amelia de Pio (NPC), Estuditha Abiness Dee (Abag-Promdi) and Alexander Gestopa Jr. (Alayon). Sanchez is running for vice governor, the Duranos and the Yaphas are up for re-election in the fifth and third district, respectively, and the rest for provincial board seats.

In Cebu City, only 17 of the total 61 candidates have complied. Among those who have yet to comply are congressional bets Russo Fernan and Manuel Ong, for north and south districts, respectively, and vice mayoralty aspirants Rogelio Amante and Patricio Navarro, both independents.

In Mandaue City, only Barangay Tabok chairman Emiliano Rosal, who is running as an independent for city councilor, has complied, out of the 21 bets vying for various city seats.

In Lapu-Lapu City, four out of 40 candidates for various posts have so far complied.

Comelec provincial action officer Alex Villacrucis said the deadline for submission of drug test results to the Comelec is on March 24 or on the eve of the first day of the campaign period for local candidates. — Freeman News Service


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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