The Partido Reporma tandem of Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson underwent  drug tests at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Administration (PDEA) on Monday, saying they wanted to send a signal that all public servants, especially aspirants for high office, should be beyond rebuke.

The two senators arrived at PDEA offices past 1pm and had their urine samples taken, noting that the PDEA uses a “multi-test” process that screens not just for shabu and marijuana, but  other prohibited drugs as well.

After five hours, the screenings yielded negative results for both senators, which means they are cleared of any type of illegal drugs.

The pair underwent a multi-drug test procedure, which was capable of detecting all kinds of illegal substances in a person’s system.

The duo’s PDEA trip comes days after President Duterte revealed that a presidential aspirant, whom he refused to name, uses cocaine. 

Sotto and Lacson, a former National Police chief with a reputation for being very disciplined, said they voluntarily took the test to show that officials with nothing to hide should have nothing to fear. Sotto himself chaired the national drug council many years ago, before becoming senator.

According to Lacson, it was Sotto who brought up the idea that they both take the drug test on Monday. The Senate President confirmed it and explained that it was due to the many challenges they were hearing from so many people over the weekend.

Kaninang umaga, tinawagan ko si Senator Lacson, sabi ko pasok tayo sa Senate ngayon, bakit hindi tayo magpa-drug test na? (I called up Senator Lacson this morning and told him, since we’re going to the Senate today, why don’t we take the drug test now?),” Sotto said.

Sotto said they had been submitting themselves to voluntary drug screenings even in past election seasons, noting this was crucial to him as he was the principal author of the 2002 Dangerous Drugs Act.

He explained that he included a provision for every individual seeking a public office, whether for a national or local position, to submit themselves to a random drug test procedure as well but that provision was nixed by the Supreme Court.

Lacson and Sotto became the first political tandem to accept a public challenge of subjecting themselves to a random drug test. The lawmakers immediately said ‘yes’ when they were asked by journalists if they would be willing to undergo a voluntary drug test during their “Online Kumustahan” gathering in Mexico, Pampanga last October 29, 2021.

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