MANILA

Palace says drug test not necessary for Duterte

THERE IS no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to take a drug test even after he joked about using marijuana (Cannabis), Malacañang said on Thursday, December 6.

"Hindi kailangan (It's not necessary)," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a press conference, when sought for reaction on the drug test dare issued by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Earlier Thursday, Trillanes renewed his call for Duterte to undergo a drug test after the Chief Executive joked about smoking marijuana.

In a speech delivered on Monday, December 3, the President joked that he was taking marijuana to keep himself awake during the "killing" activities of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore in November.

Trillanes, one of the vocal critics of Duterte, criticized Duterte for cracking the joke amid his administration's brutal crackdown on illegal drugs which has killed nearly 5,000 suspected drug offenders since he assumed office in 2016.

"Duterte is desperately trying to contain the damage of his admission about marijuana use by saying it is just a joke. Too late! Bistado na siya na isa rin pala siyang durugista (He's been caught as being a drug user also)," the opposition lawmaker said.

"Now, if he really wants to clear himself, I am again calling on him to take a drug test," he added.

On Wednesday, December 5, the President said that when he makes "ridiculous" statements, it is clearly a "joke."

Panelo also came to Duterte's defense, saying that the public should not worry since the President is transparent.

"I think he (Trillanes) should be the one to undergo that (drug test). Hindi niya papatulan 'yun (Duterte will not heed Trillanes's call)," the Palace official said.

"Look at this person -- this President -- malakas. Sinasabi naman niya sa atin kung ano ang diperensya niya (he's strong. He also informs us if there's a problem)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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