Clashing concepts

Clashing concepts

Actor Dominic Roco (center) together with other drug suspects were presented to the media following a buy-bust operation where they were nabbed by police in Quezon City recently. (Newspaper.ph courtesy)

This month, the chair of the House Committee on Drugs, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, made a pitch for mandatory drug testing for showbiz personalities prior to working on movies, television shows, and other related undertakings.

But as quickly as he put the final dot on his statement, a day after the arrest of actor Dominic Roco and four other suspects in a drug buy-bust operation on October 1, Sen. Robin Padilla stood up to challenge the mandatory drug testing for celebrities.

Padilla said he joins authorities in protecting Filipinos from the ill effects of illegal drugs, but he stressed that “we cannot oblige anyone to undergo a drug test, as it is tantamount to violating their human rights.”

We find in Barbers’ argument a kernel of truth since celebrities as “public figures being idolized by the Filipino youth (and) they would be setting bad examples if they would be involved in the use of drugs, or worse selling drugs.”

The Philippine National Police, parallel to the suggestion of Rep. Barbers, also encouraged local television networks and actors’ guilds to subject their artists to mandatory drug tests.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. underlined Barbers’ recommendation since these celebrities are idolized by the youth and others, good reason, according to him, why they should be illegal drugs-free.

His point is when a person is a role model, the person’s record should be impeccable.

In the immediately preceding Duterte administration’s anti-drug war – from 2016 to 2022 – at least eight celebrities were arrested for alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

Among them were actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, starlet Krista Miller, former sexy actress Sabrina M, and radio disk jockey Karen Bordador, who were all arrested by the police in 2016.

Included in the list were former child star CJ Ramos, Fliptop rapper Zaito, and actor Julio Diaz.

Azurin urged artists to take the initiative and get themselves tested to show that the vast majority of them are exemplary members of the Filipino community, adding while replying to a question that the call for drug testing of artists, to be taken seriously, should be made a requirement for employment.

His argument has sound logic when he said if you’re the employer, you can say, ‘For us to hire you, you need to submit a document to prove that you tested negative for a drug test.’

Indeed that can be part of the contract or the requirements for employment.

His words: “And if you’re the employer, you’d want to have a clean hand, or you’d want to be part of those advocating for a drug-free Philippines.”

We support Barbers and the PNP chief.

(ai/mtvn)

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