Trillanes dares Duterte: Take drug test
Did he or didn’t he?
Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to take a drug test to show whether he had indeed used marijuana.
In a speech in Malacañang on Monday, Mr. Duterte said he used marijuana “to keep me awake” at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Singapore last month, where he skipped several events to take a nap.
In a talk with reporters later, Mr. Duterte walked back his assertion, saying he was just joking.
Marijuana is illegal in the Philippines and critics said Mr. Duterte’s attempt at humor could upset the relatives of the thousands who died in his brutal war on drugs.
Trillanes, one of the fiercest critics of Mr. Duterte, said he believed the President was just trying to conceal his drug use.
“Duterte is desperately trying to contain the damage of his admission about marijuana use by saying it was just a joke. Too late. It has been revealed that he is is drug user,” Trillanes said.
“Now, if he really wants to clear himself, I am again calling on him to take a drug test,” he added.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a news briefing later on Thursday that Mr. Duterte would not take up the challenge.
“He should be the one taking the test,” Panelo said, referring to Trillanes.
“There is no need [for a drug test]. Look at this person, this President. He is strong. He would always say if something is wrong with him,” Panelo said.
Mr. Duterte’s assertion came amid reports of continuing killings in his bloody war on drugs, and public reaction has not stopped days after his speech.
But Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Thursday that people should ignore Mr. Duterte’s jokes.
Sotto said he had been told that the President laughed at people’s taking his jokes seriously. —WITH REPORTS FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO, MAILA AGER
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