There is no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to undergo a drug test, the Palace said Thursday in again rejecting opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s challenge for Duterte to do so.
“I think, he [Trillanes] should be the one to undergo that. He [Duterte] won’t heed that,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
“That’s not needed. Look at this person, this President. [He’s] strong. He tells us the ailments he has.”
In other developments:
• Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday told the public to simply ignore Duterte’s “jokes,” including his recent remarks on his supposed use of marijuana, despite an opposition senator’s renewed call for him to take a drug test.
“At the outset, I knew he was not only joking but ribbing some people because he said marijuana keeps him awake, which is an impossibility because cannabis is a downer,” Sotto said in a text message.
He was referring to Duterte’s speech on Monday when he said he was using marijuana to keep him awake, but then added he was only joking.
• Panelo said Thursday Duterte’s remark saying the Catholic bishops should be killed for being useless was just an example of the hyperbole that the President was using to add a dramatic effect in his speeches.
Panelo made the statement after Duterte told the public that Catholic officials were better off dead, belittling their existence as they only knew how to criticize the government.
“I think that’s only a hyperbole on the part of the President,” Panelo said.
“We should be getting used to this President. He makes certain statements for dramatic effect, but he actually means stop criticizing and do some good for this country. Help us.”
On Thursday, Trillanes challenged Duterte to undergo a drug test after he “joked” that he smoked marijuana to cope with his hectic schedule during last month’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.
In his statement, Trillanes said the President was “trying to contain the damage of his admission about marijuana use by saying it was just a joke.”
“[But it’s] too late! He’s been found out as a drug user himself. Now, if he really wants to clear himself, I am, again, calling on him to take a drug test,” Trillanes said.
Duterte has previously drawn flak for his “jokes,” explaining he only did so to “lighten a dull moment” in his speaking engagements.
“If it is too ridiculous, it must be a joke,” Duterte said in a speech on Wednesday.
This was not the first time that Trillanes, one of the most vocal critics of the Duterte administration, called the attention of the Palace hoping to challenge the President to undergo a drug test.
In August, he also dared to have Duterte’s family undergo a drug test after the lawmaker was found negative of illegal drug use. The Palace, however, shrugged it off.