MALACAÑANG yesterday thumbed down the proposal of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to conduct surprise drug tests on candidates for the 2019 midterm elections.
Presidential Spokesperson Panelo said such test should be taken “voluntarily” and not be forced on candidates.
“Well sa tingin ko, dapat voluntary. Kung ayaw hindi naman pupuwedeng pupuwersahin mo,” Panelo said in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
“Kung wala naman talagang itinatago, magbu-volunteer talaga iyan,” he added, noting that he believes Duterte will also turn down the proposal.
On Wednesday, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino floated the idea of giving drug tests to aspirants for the elections next year to identify candidates involved in illegal drugs.
Aquino said surprise drug tests should be conducted on politicians running in the elections to prevent them from preparing for the test by not using illegal drugs before the examination to get a negative result.
Also on Wednesday, Panelo said Duterte is “evaluating” the pros and cons of the proposal of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to release the names of so-called “narco-politicians” ahead of the 2019 elections.
This came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sought the help of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify politicians who are allegedly included in the government’s “narco-list.”