House official backs proposed drug tests for actors
MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Robin Padilla said Monday he is one with those seeking the protection of the public, including his fellow actors, from illegal drugs but asserts tests should not be mandatory.
Padilla issued the statement a day after a congressman proposed that actors should undergo drug testing before engaging their professional services in light of the arrest of one of them due to illegal drugs over the weekend.
"Tayo ay nakikiisa sa layuning maprotektahan ang ating mga kababayan sa kapahamakan ng iligal na droga. Kasama na rito ang mga kapwa kong artista," Padilla said.
"Nguni't hindi maaaring obligahin ang sinuman na magpa-drug test, dahil maaaring labag ito sa kanilang karapatang pantao," he added.
It would be good if they do it voluntarily and the testing is paid for by their employer, said Padilla.
“Actors, actresses and other movie celebrities should all be drug-free because they are public figures that are being idolized by the public, particularly the Filipino youth. They would be setting bad examples if they would be involved in the use of drugs, or worse selling drugs," Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said on Sunday when he suggested the mandatory drug testing for the sector.
Barbers, who chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, made the call after the arrest Saturday of actor Dominic Roco and his four companions during a buy-bust operation in Quezon City.
“Hinihiling at hinihikayat ko ang hanay ng ating movie industry na tumulong sa kampanya laban sa droga sa pamamagitan ng pag-police ng kanilang ranks at i-subject ang kanilang mga talents sa drug test bago bigyan ng pelikula,” the lawmaker said.
The proposal was backed by House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, citing his advocacy for such since he got connected with government.
But he is unsure if it can be made mandatory.
"But I do not know if we could make it mandatory. But if can be along, why not? For sure kasi, siyempre, yung ating celebrities naman, they are being idolized by young people. So they should also be role model, example," Dalipe said.
It was also welcomed by the national police leadership.
“Even si dating Chief PNP Debold Sinas, he subjected yung kaniyang mga empleyado, yung security sa Okada. So siguro, lahat ho siguro ng mga ahensya or offices, if they can subject yung kanilang mga employees to a drug test, napakaganda po because that is also one of the approach na puwede natin magawa in order to reduce the supply as well the demand,” said General Rodolfo Azurin, Jr.
“Puwedeng isama yun, nasa employer yun. At kung ikaw naman yung employer, mas gusto mo naman na merong clean hand or kasama ka doon sa nag-a-advocate ng drug-free Philippines,” he added.
For Padilla, drug testing is more necessary for government officials and workers in line with their duty to set good examples for all Filipinos.
- with reports from RG Cruz and Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News