MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police have encouraged all local and national candidates in next year’s election to submit to drug tests, although this is not among the requirements to run.
âAlthough the PNP recognizes that there is no law requiring the candidate to undergo a drug test, this will set an example for his colleagues. [compatriots] by proving that they are not consumers of illegal drugs, âPNP police chief General Dionardo Carlos said in a statement on Saturday.
Carlos’ statement came days after President Duterte, without naming names, claimed that one of the presidential candidates was a cocaine user.
He said he had previously tasked the PNP drug control group to investigate the case, noting that the president’s statement “prompted an initial investigation.”
âWhenever relevant information comes in, we definitely conduct an investigation. For now, we are trying to get more information about it, âsaid Carlos, stressing that their action will depend on the sufficiency of the evidence they could collect.
Carlos said they couldn’t simply arrest a person on the basis of a public disclosure, adding that “a person with a history of drug use can be arrested if there is a pending arrest warrant in hand. related to the drug offense “.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency declined to comment on Mr. Duterte’s claim.
Voluntarily take a test
Also on Saturday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, candidate for vice-presidency in next year’s elections, reiterated his repeated call for politicians to voluntarily submit to drug tests.
“Any accusation of drug use against a candidate will always belong to the public: because a drug user commits an illegal act, will they want him to become their boss?” He said in a radio interview.
âIt should be up to every candidate to voluntarily submit to a drug test, in order to show the electorate that they are sober. If he or she refuses, then we can all conclude what it means, âhe said.
Sotto said he and his flag bearer, Senator Panfilo Lacson, have already repeatedly expressed their willingness to be subjected to drug tests, especially in the run-up to elections.
“The [Commission on Elections] can apply this to all applicants, and such tests can be done live, a kind of ‘drug testing challenge’, âhe said, noting that the Supreme Court had already overturned its 2008 proposal to ” require political candidates to undergo mandatory drug tests.
“This could again be labeled as unconstitutional as it will add a new requirement to the candidacy, when all that the Constitution requires is the ability to read and write,” he said.
âWITH A REPORT BY MELVIN GASCON
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