MANILA — While an amendment to the Omnibus Election Code is necessary to compel candidates to subject themselves to drug testing, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said there is nothing wrong if those seeking public office will voluntarily do so.
In a press conference Tuesday, PDEA Spokesperson Derrick Carreon said “it doesn’t hurt to voluntarily, as personal advocacy, to subject yourself to drug testing.”
He noted that PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino himself said those who will submit themselves to testing sans a mandatory policy, is “well and good.”
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael, for her part, noted that candidates should have the initiative to prove they do not patronize illegal drugs, especially those included on the narco-list.
“Yung mga nasa narco list, of course kung wala pang batas na nagmamandato sa kanila para mag-undergo ng drug testing then voluntary dapat ‘yon sa mga kakandidato, especially na marami sila (Those who are in the narco list, while there is no law that compels them to undergo drug testing, they should voluntarily subject themselves to it, especially because there are so many of them),” she said.
However, the problem with voluntary drug testing is the “timing,” Carreon said.
“As Dir. Gen. Aquino said, timing is of the essence in drug testing because if the person knows he/she will undergo one, most likely, if he/she does God forbid use, he/she can just abstain and submit to the drug test,” he stressed.
Previously, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that imposing a mandatory drug testing to candidates running for an office in the 2019 mid-term elections is “unconstitutional” as this runs counter to the requirements already embodied in the omnibus election code.
PDEA earlier proposed the mandatory drug tests for 2019 election candidates.
Malacanañg did not dismissed the proposal on the spot but said it will extensively evaluate it first, citing the SC ruling.
On Tuesday, Carreon did not drop a name but said a candidate already subjected herself to voluntary drug test at the PDEA office. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA-northboundasia.com