An ‘interesting twist’

November 08, 2019

THE scenario has now an “interesting twist” with President Duterte’s appointment of opposition leader Vice President (VP) Leni Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

The hard-hitting Chief Executive, in a speech last week, said that the drug situation in the Philippines had worsened, with the police on the “brink of surrendering.”

But while the country awaits Robredo’s “plan of action” against the “drug monster,” which is now the country’s top enemy, the government would do well to heed the call of Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr.

Aware that 48 percent of drug cases in courts have resulted to the acquittal of suspected drug lords, Congressman Barzaga called on concerned state authorities to subject elected public officials to a random drug test.

The articulate lawmaker aired the call during last Wednesday’s public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.

At the same time, Barzaga urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government under Secretary Eduardo Ano, a former military general, to subject other local government officials to random drug test.

He said this is one way of preventing the country’s politicians from being drug dependent, adding that all law enforcement agencies ought to require their men and women to undergo surprise random drug-testing.

Under Barzaga’s proposal, public officials who refuse to undergo surprise drug- testing can be suspended or terminated for cause considering the government’s total war against the drug menace.

In the view of many, including the ordinary citizens, requiring the men and women in government uniform to undergo drug-testing is one way of ferreting out drug-dependent public servants.

It’s a proposal that must be considered now – and fast – if we are to win the war against the drug menace.