MINORS must be protected and laws should not be violated, said Police Regional Office 7 Director Prudencio Tom Bañas.

He was reacting to the plan of the Cebu City Council to hold random drug tests among public high school students.

“We have to ensure their rights are considered. Sabi nga nila, ‘The fruit of a poison tree cannot be accepted in court as evidence.’ So wala ring mangyayari (Nothing will come out of it),” he told reporters yesterday.

Confirmation

Bañas was referring to a legal metaphor--”fruit of the poisonous tree”--that is used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally.

The council approved last Wednesday Councilor Noel Wenceslao’s resolution asking the Cebu City Office on Substance Abuse Prevention to conduct the examination after he received reports that some youths are using illegal drugs.

The test will confirm the reports, said Wenceslao, chairperson of the council’s committee on education.

Police, on their part, will conduct seminars and lectures on drug awareness in different schools in Central Visayas.

This is part of Bañas’s plans after he assumed the post last week. The new regional director wants to focus on addressing the illegal drug problem.

It’s also in line with “Kontra Droga Charlie,” a revitalized campaign of the Philippine National Police, against illegal drugs, he said.

5-point strategy

The campaign, he said, has a five-point strategy, which is composed of supply reduction, demand reduction, internal cleansing, legal offensive and international cooperation.

Bañas said he will be cooperating with the Department of Education, local government units and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regarding his plans.

He said there’s an existing program, where police officers lecture grades 5 and 6 students about drug awareness for two weeks.

“While our policemen go against the pushers, we also have a left-hand effort on education,” Bañas said.