Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino has been quoted as saying that surprise drug tests should be conducted on politicians running in the elections.
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Panelo clarifies: Palace to review proposed mandatory drug tests for 2019 bets
(philstar.com) - October 20, 2018 - 5:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday clarified it was not snubbing “in toto” the proposed mandatory drug testing of candidates for next year's elections, saying it is yet to review the proposal.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino has been quoted as saying in reports that surprise drug tests should be conducted on politicians running in the elections.

But presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, has said the proposal would violate the Constitution as it adds another qualification outside of that set by the charter.

In a separate statement, Panelo said it recognizes PDEA’s intention of making sure that electorates are well-informed when casting their votes, but requiring those seeking a seat in Congress to undergo drug tests is “problematic.”

“This is because the Supreme Court has already pronounced, in the case of Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board, that mandatory drug testing for senators is not allowed as it imposes add'l qualifications beyond the provision of the Constitution,” Panelo explained

“In other words, even a law directing such mandatory drug tests will be struck down as unconstitutional,” he added.

But the Palace spokesman said drug testing can be permitted for local government bets as it is only the Local Government Code, not the Constitution, that imposes qualifications and eligibility requirements on such candidates.

“The Palace has yet to discuss the specific conditions and procedures concerning the proposal with the PDEA,” Panelo said.

“The Office of the President shall first consider and evaluate these in order to make a learned decision on the matter,” he added.

“We maintain our suggestion that those who seek public offices in 2019 polls voluntarily submit themselves to drug testing for this is an initial step towards equipping our electorate with substantial information as they exercise their right of suffrage.” — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS
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