Padilla: Mandatory drug testing for celebrities would violate their rights

Padilla: Mandatory drug testing for celebrities would violate their rights
Sen. Robin Padilla in this photo uploaded on his Facebook page on July 9, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — Requiring workers in the entertainment industry would be a violation of their rights, Sen. Robinhood Padilla — an actor before he became involved in politics — said.

Padilla said he supports the government's campaign against illegal drugs but also said if any sector would be required to take drug tests, government officials and employees should go first.

"Hindi maaaring obligahin ang sinuman na magpa-drug test, dahil maaaring labag ito sa kanilang karapatang pantao. Mas mainam kung boluntaryo ang kanilang drug test — para na rin ito sa kanilang kapakanan at kaligtasan," he said.

(We cannot oblige anyone to take a drug test because that may be a violation of their human rights. It would be better if the drug tests are done voluntarily — this is also for their safety and wellbeing.)

READ: Lawmaker proposes drug testing for celebrities before project starts

Padilla added that it would be better if the costs of any testing would be shouldered by employers.

Padilla issued the statement in response to a proposal by Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Sur) to have entertainment workers take drug tests before they are allowed to work on TV or movie projects. 

Barbers made the suggestion after actor Dominic Roco was arrested in Quezon City over the weekend for allegedly selling drugs to undercover law enforcement. He said celebrities are supposed to set good examples and that testing would make sure they are drug free.

"Sa kabilang dako, mas nararapat na sumailalim sa drug test ang ating mga opisyal at kawani ng pamahalaan — na may tungkuling magbigay ng mabuting halimbawa para sa kapwa nating Pilipino," Padilla said.

(On the other hand, it is more fitting that government officials and employees go through drug testing since they have the duty to be good examples for our fellow Filipinos.)

In 2019, Reps. Barbers and Elpidio Barzaga Jr. also proposed random drug tests at the House of Representatives as well as mandatory drug tests for local government officials. Barbers made a similar proposal in 2018. Neither proposals were adopted although government agencies do conduct random drug tests.

Porposals by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to make students take drug tests raised concerns, including from Human Rights Watch, which said it would "effectively allow the police to extend their 'anti-drug' operations to college and university campuses, placing students at grave risk."

RELATED: ‘School drug tests need Congress nod’





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