PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not giving "special treatment" to celebrities who are suspected of having links to illegal drugs, Malacañang said on Friday, March 29.

Amid public clamor to reveal the names of celebrities included in the government's so-called "narco-list," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stressed that the President first has to consider the "pros and cons" before deciding whether there is a need to name them.

"The President doesn't give special treatment to anyone if you have noticed," the Palace official said in a press briefing with Palace reporters.

"I suppose he will be deciding whether or not to release it. He will weigh the considerations... I guess the President will have to determine whether or not he will direct the release of the personalities named therein," he added.

Panelo made the remark after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) favor releasing the list of 31 celebrities proven to be involved in illegal drugs.

The PDEA earlier said that 11 of 31 celebrities who have drug ties are actresses, while the remainder are male actors. Majority of them are in their 20s and 30s, with most of them still active in the entertainment industry.

PDEA Chief Director General Aaron Aquino said he is in favor of releasing the names of celebrities, once the President green-lights such move.

For PNP Chief General Oscar Albayalde, naming the celebrities with drug links would be a fair decision, since politicians suspected of being involved in the drug trade were previously named by the President.

Panelo said the President would be weighing "all considerations" in possibly divulging the names of celebrities involved in rampant narcotics trade.

"What I can say is that the reason why the list of the so-called narco-politicians named were released is because the President does not want them to hold power and strengthen the drug industry in this country," the Palace official said.

"Whether or not it will apply to the new list involving personalities, I do not know. That will depend on the President," he added.

On Tuesday, March 26, Panelo guaranteed that the celebrities who indeed have drug links will have to face appropriate charges.

Panelo, in his latest statement, urged celebrities to refrain from using illegal drugs, telling them that it would only destroy their life.

"The message is of course, you should not be involved. The message is you should not. You have to rehabilitate yourself. You cannot be doing that because you're destroying your own selves," he said.

"Certainly, it will be destructive of their own health, destructive of their own family, and certainly, they will be losing their adoring fans," he added.

The Palace official, nevertheless, said the current administration would offer assistance to celebrities who sought drug treatment and rehabilitation.

"The help would be extended to them if they ask for it, if they are willing to rehabilitate themselves," Panelo said. (SunStar Philippines)