Presidential candidates undergoing voluntary drug testing will not stop the Philippine National Police from starting an investigation in case there is valuable information that will link a candidate to the illegal drug trade or drug use, new PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said a drug test among politicians must be unannounced, even as Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Isko Moreno Domagoso has asked the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to have him tested for illegal drugs.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday said he is also willing to undergo a complete drug test, as two other presidential aspirants have done.
Meanwhile, Senator Manny Pacquiao, an admitted drug user in his youth, said: “Let’s jail the bigtime drug traffickers and save the users.”
The PNP on Wednesday welcomed the initiative of some presidential candidates to undergo voluntary drug testing.
“We will document the results, of course. It’s good that they are serving as good examples to the public,” said PNP chief Carlos, who reiterated that while the law does not require a mandatory drug test for all candidates vying for public office, the police will support such a measure once it is implemented.
He added the PNP is willing to assist through its competent Forensic Group with any request from both local and national candidates to undergo drug tests.
In a letter to PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva on Wednesday, Domagoso said he will make himself available for drug testing at the agency’s office in Quezon City at the soonest possible time.
On Monday, Senator Panfilo Lacson kicked off the trend when he and his running mate, Senator Vicente Sotto III, underwent a drug test at the PDEA headquarters in Quezon City, which yielded negative results for shabu, cocaine, ecstasy, and other narcotics.
Also on Monday, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he underwent drug testing at a private hospital in Metro Manila and furnished a copy of the negative results to PDEA.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte disclosed that a candidate for next year’s presidential elections is using cocaine. He did not divulge the identity of the presidential hopeful but hinted the candidate is a male with a “very weak” character and comes from a wealthy family with a prominent patriarch.
Robredo on Wednesday welcomed a challenge for her to undergo a drug test “anytime” but said such should be a surprise one.”
“For me, anytime because… A drug test should be random, unannounced,” she said.
Moreno, meanwhile, told PDEA: “In the interest of public service in the highest order, may I please submit myself for immediate drug testing for Cocaine, Shabu, Marijuana, or all other illegal substances.”
The 47-year-old Manila mayor has repeatedly stressed that he is willing to submit himself to drug testing as a matter of public interest and a matter of principle.
“We are willing of course if that is what is needed to calm people down. The people are right, if you are president and you are a drug-user, how can you fight against drugs?” Moreno told DZMM Teleradyo’s On the Spot.
Moreno would also like to prove to the people that he was never into drugs even from his days in the slums of Tondo and his time in showbusiness.
“I have never been into drugs, maski solvent o ano pa. I have nothing to hide,” he said.
Presidential candidate Pacquiao – one of three senators running for President -- admitted he tried using drugs when he was young and naive.
“Sino ba sa atin ang walang nagawang kasalanan? Mahirap po ang aking pinagdaanan (Who among us hasn’t sinned? My journey in life has been hard),” stressed Pacquiao.
The reality, he noted, is drug users are victims of circumstances in life and they must be given a second chance.
The world boxing champion turned politician said in his younger years, he lived alone and worked to earn a living, while others his age were playing with their fellow children.
“If you are poor and ignorant in life, you don’t know the intention of the people around you, those whom you will interact with,” related Pacquiao.
“And if you are young, there are people who tend to abuse your young mind,” he also said.
But God, Pacquaio pointed out, works in mysterious ways. He said God did not neglect him to go deep into vices.
“I was given by God the opportunity to change my life. From a dark life and with no direction, he has given me the chance to dream,” he said.
The presidential contender under Promdi stressed he turned his back from the dark side of his past and worked hard to reform his life.
For those who do not know, the senator said you have to undergo an anti-doping test in international sporting competitions, including boxing.