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Palace: Drug test for poll bets against the law

If candidates don’t want to, you can’t force them—Panelo
/ 05:51 AM October 20, 2018

Malacañang is not in favor of a proposal to require candidates running in the 2019 midterm elections to undergo testing for drugs.

In a radio interview on Friday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that authorities could not force candidates to subject themselves to a drug test as this would be in violation of their constitutional rights.

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“I think it should be voluntary. If they don’t want to, you cannot just force them,” said Panelo, the concurrent chief presidential legal counsel.

In a statement later in the day, he added that making drug tests mandatory for those running for Congress was “violative” of the 1987 Constitution.

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“It adds another qualification outside of that enumerated by the Constitution,” Panelo said.

Additional qualification

“The same principle applies to local candidates as it also adds to the qualifications imposed by law. Voluntary drug testing is a favorable process,” he added.

Panelo reacted after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) proposed the conduct of surprise tests on all candidates running for elective posts next year.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said this would prevent politicians from preparing for it, thus defeating the purpose for the conduct of the tests.

According to Aquino, PDEA holds surprise checks for its personnel, sometimes calling them to a meeting and then suddenly requiring them to submit urine samples.

The Dangerous Drugs Board, on the other hand, has appealed to politicians to submit themselves to mandatory drug testing upon their election to public office.

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Panelo, however, pointed out that candidates who were untainted by illegal drugs would volunteer themselves to be tested.

“If he has nothing to hide, he will even volunteer himself for it,” he said, adding that those involved in illegal drugs were expected to refuse.

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TAGS: Comelec, drug test, elections 2019, Palace, Panelo, PDEA
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