MANILA, Philippines [UPDATE] — Several presidential and vice-presidential aspirants for the 2022 national elections agree on the proposition of mandatory drug testing of candidates.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said this will determine whether there are candidates who use illegal drugs or are drug dependents.
He said campaigning against illegal drugs is an act of futility if the president himself uses illegal drugs.
“Dapat lang. Eh baka mamaya, may adik. May adik na kandidato. Can you imagine ‘pag may adik na presidente?” Moreno said.
“I mean, let’s be honest to ourselves. How can we go and campaign against drugs even the President eh nag-da-drugs? Hindi, ‘di ba? We have to. Why not? Ako, OK ako. Call ako,” he added.
Senator Manny Pacquiao also expressed his agreement, stressing that drug testing must be done simultaneously among candidates.
“Agree ako dapat pakita natin na malinis tayo. At bago start ng campaign ay sabay-sabay na padrug test kami lahat,” Pacquiao said.
Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, in agreement, also said that that the testing must be done among all candidates.
“Agree ako sa suggestion na magkakaroon ng mandatory drug test lahat ng presidential candidates,” he said.
Senator Bato explained that if security officers are being required to undergo drug testing, presidential candidates are no exemption.
“Dapat lang! Yung security guard nga na nagbabantay lang ng isang establisimento ay required na magpa-drug test, iyon pang presidente na magbabantay at mangungulo ng buong bansa exempted sa drug test? Unfair noh?” he pointed out.
Vice President Leni Robredo also welcome the proposal to include mandatory drug testing among the requirements to all candidates.
Robredo said this will assure that candidates start with a clean slate.
“Ako, ready ako anytime. Hindi sa’kin problema ‘yon. Sa’kin, kung ire-require ‘yon, OK, lalo na dahil maraming mga kwento na ito ay lulong sa ganito. Mas mabuti na clean slate kami. So ako, anytime,” she said.
Even presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson sees no problem in going through mandatory drug testing.
“I have never been addicted to drugs all my life, so I have no problem with that,” he said.
Lacson stressed that the testing must be done at random to ensure its credibility.
“In fact, we should all undergo random testing to make it more credible. I understand drug toxins may dissipate after 72 hours,” he added.
Presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman also expressed willingness to undergo mandatory drug testing.
He, however, underscored that candidates must rather focus on the real issues the country is facing.
“Tanong ko lang kay Mayor Isko, kung mayroon ba siyang nakikita sa mga nagfile ng pagkapresidente na meron doon na adik? O yan ay paglilihis lamang dun sa mga tunay usapin? Kagaya ng problema ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina, tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng kuryente, yung matagal nang hinihingi, na problema ng mga health workers na proteksyon sa kanilang pagtatrabaho?” De Guzman said.
“Magfocus tayo doon sa isyu ng bayan, sa isyu ng masa, sa isyu ng ating mga kamanggagawa. Hindi yung magke-create ng mga usapin na di ko malaman kung saan hinuhugot,” he further said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, a vice-presidential aspirant, said he has earlier included mandatory drug testing among those who will run for public office as one of the provisions of the Dangerous Act of 2002 which he wrote.
The Supreme Court (SC), however, declared the provision unconstitutional in 2008.
“I placed that in the law I authored, RA 9165, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. [The] SC shot it down as unconstitutional. I do it voluntarily instead, every election,” Sotto said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, on the other hand, no one can compel any candidates to go through mandatory drug testing as it is not backed by any law.
“Pero I am not aware of any law that requires it. So, I think beyond voluntary compliance ay hindi naman po natin pupuwedeng i-prescribe iyan kasi wala pong ibang kuwalipikasyon na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas para maging kandidato kung hindi ikaw ay Pilipino at of a certain age,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)