Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on drug test

 Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III  (Joseph Vidal / Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — At least four prominent vice-presidential aspirants don’t mind being tested for drug use.

In a text message to reporters on Friday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III noted that he pushed for mandatory drug testing under the Republic Act No. 9165 but it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“I placed that in the law I authored, RA 9165, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. SC shot it down as unconstitutional. I do it voluntarily instead of every election,” he said.

Opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan also said he has no problem with being tested for drug use, but surmised that someone may want to earn by making such tests mandatory for election candidates.

“Personally, I have no problem being tested but it seems may gusto atang kumita sa requirement na ito (someone wants to earn from this requirement),” he told in a text message.

Deputy Speaker and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza also agree with the suggestion.

“Yes, why not? No elected official should be a drug user,” he said in a separate text message.

Physician and online personality Willie Ong likewise backs the proposal.

“Yes, of course. Public servants should be competent and law-abiding to fulfill their duties. Use of illegal drugs may harm the brain and one’s judgment,” he said. is still trying to contact Senator Christopher “Bong” Go regarding his position on the matter.

Media personality and senatorial candidate Raffy Tulfo proposed to the Commission on Elections to have the election candidates tested for drug use by taking hair follicle samples from them.

In 2008, the Supreme Court declared provisions of Section 36 of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 unconstitutional. This part of the law requires mandatory drug tests for all candidates vying for government posts and those facing criminal charges. According to petitioners, such stipulation of R.A. No. 9165 imposes additional qualifications for candidates other than those already stated in the 1987 Constitution.

In 2018, then Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said that such an examination must be taken voluntarily and not forced on aspirants.


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