MANILA, Philippines – Presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who was accused of being a drug user at a Senate probe, accepted the challenge of senators for him to undergo a drug test and dared them to do the same.
This dare came after Duterte publicly accused – without details or evidence – an unnamed senator of using cocaine.
"If the rank and file could submit themselves to drug testing, the more should those elected in public office,” Vice Mayor Duterte said in a statement.
A simple drug test is not enough, as the vice mayor said a “more precise” examination should be done to detect illegal substances in hair samples. He then suggested that they all go to "a high-precision drugs test center" in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
“Many of them, if not all, may have submitted themselves to a simple drug test before, but I encourage them to undergo the more precise examinations available in Metro Manila that would not just detect illegal drugs in urine or blood but even in hair follicles," Duterte said.
He said that the hair follicle drug test would trace 7 major drug classes like cocaine, opiates, metamphetamine, marijuana, ketamine, and benzodiazepine.
Senators: Name names
The public allegation made by the vice mayor did not sit well with some senators, who said all senators are now looked upon as possible drug user.
Senators Panfilo Lacson, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Juan Edgardo Angara challenged the presidential son to name the senator once and for all.
Trillanes, one of the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, was the first to dare the younger Duterte.
“Sa akin wag na tayo mag blind item. If he’s sure about his information sabihin mo. Peperwisyuhin mo pa yung 23 na hindi naman addict, assuming that’s true, kasi i-clear pa lahat namin. Eh hindi ganun. It doesn’t work that way,” Trillanes said on Thursday, October 6.
(For me, let's not do blind items. If he's sure about his information, then tell it. You are going to hassle the 23 other senators who are not addicts, assuming that is true, because we have to clear our names. It's not like that. It does not work that way.)
He then denied that he is a cocaine user.
“Basta ako I’m sure that I’m not that senator. I believe siguro kung mapapangalan nya eh di mas matutukoy natin. Pero kung blind item yan, mahirap pa yan,” said Trillanes.
(Me, I'm sure that I'm not that senator. I believe maybe if he could name them, we can pinpoint the real person. But if it's just a blind item, that's difficult.)
Lacson shared the same sentiment, saying it is now time for the younger Duterte to clear the name of other senators.
"He just put all 24 senators on the spot with his very serious accusation. He should therefore name him or her immediately. Otherwise all of us will be looked upon as a possible suspected cocaine user," said Lacson, chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also denied he is the senator in question and urged his colleagues not to dwell on every issue thrown at them.
“Otherwise, all we would be doing is defensively reacting all the time,” Pimentel said.
Drug test for all senators?
Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III suggested that senators should undergo a drug test to dispel any suspicion.
"If the vice mayor will not name the senator, I suggest we all have drug tests to dispel any suspicion on any member of the Senate," Sotto said.
While Trillanes agrees with this, he said the test should be voluntarily done.
Angara, for his part, said he is willing to undergo a drug test to prove he is not a cocaine user.
"I think he should name names. There are 24 of us senators here, and all of us are suspect as it is now. He should clear the air to prevent unnecessary speculation by the public. Personally, I am even willing to undergo a drug test," said Angara. – Rappler.com