Sotto thumbs down police anti-drug operations in campuses
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Wednesday said school authorities, not the Philippine National Police (PNP), should conduct anti-drug operations inside campuses.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) earlier released Memorandum Order No. 18 Series of 2018, which provides the guidelines for the conduct of drug tests for students in higher education institutions (HEIs).
Section 2.4 under the Rule II of the memorandum also allows local government units, the PNP, or any authorized law enforcement agency to conduct legitimate anti-drug operations inside the premises of HEIs, provided that they coordinate with school officials.
“The mandate that we have in the law in Republic Act 9165 is for the authorities to do it, not the PNP,” Sotto, author of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, said in a news forum.
“[It should] not [be] police operations. Hindi magiging maganda ang effect, tsaka hindi maganda ang dating (The effect will not be good, and it will not leave a good impression),” he said.
But while he disagreed on the conduct of police operations inside schools, Sotto said he supports the random drug testing in HEIs.
He said a drug test is not a “witch hunt” but part of awareness and prevention program against illegal drugs.
“Pinapaalam mo sa mga students and sa mga bagong 13-years-old na tinest iyan kasi bakit? [Because] masama ang droga. Kaya dapat hindi ka gumagamit niyan,” Sotto said.
(You are informing the students and the new 13-year-olds that they are being tested for drugs because it is not good for them and they should not use it.)
In July, Sotto also surprised the staff of the Senate with a drug test. He said he was the first in line for the test back then. /ee
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