Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed concern over Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde’s proposal requiring drug testing for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates in the May 14 local elections.
De Lima, a staunchest critic of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, said Albayalde’s proposal is anti-poor, violates equal protection, and smacks of class legislation.
“Without casting any aspersion on his fitness and integrity, I’m afraid that Albayalde is starting on the wrong foot as he starts his stint as PNP Chief,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 278.
“It only targets lowly barangay and SK hopefuls, and spares the rich and privileged candidates for higher elective office,” she added.
Based on reports, Albayalde urged the voters to demand a voluntary drug test from all the candidates for the barangay elections in May 14, saying “If I were a candidate for barangay elections, I would volunteer for a drug test if I am not hiding anything.”
The former justice secretary reminded Albayalde to not be “selective” in his new plans on how to wage the drug war.
“By requiring barangay and SK candidates to undergo drug testing, shouldn’t he think that candidates for national office should also be required to undergo drug testing, including candidates for President? If only that was required back in 2016, maybe we would have been spared this President,” she said.
Should Albayalde decide to push through with his proposal, De Lima said the PNP chief should start with the President.
“And if Duterte fails the drug test, Albayalde should recommend his removal from office,” she suggested.
Last April 7, De Lima lauded the appointment of Albayalde as the new PNP chief. She noted that Duterte’s three new appointees, including Albayalde, “are all men of honor, competence, and integrity.”
It may be recalled that Duterte also recently appointed Menardo Guevarra as Justice Secretary and Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez as Armed Forces Chief of Staff.