09 July 2016

Mandatory drug testing for government personnel could regain lost public trust, says Palace official
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Malacanang favors mandatory drug testing for government employees to regain the trust of the public.

In the midst of the Duterte administration’s intensified anti-illegal drug campaign, calls for the conduct of the mandatory testing is being raised.

In a radio interview Saturday, Abella said the proposal is a welcome development “just to prove to the people na lahat ng mga tao natin ay maayos naman (Just to prove to the people that all government workers are proper),” he told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“That should not be a deterrent, it’s not a question of exposing but it’s a question of expressing, it’s a symbolic act. It’s a very powerful symbolic act, na pinapakita natin na tayong mga nagsisilbi sa gobyerno ay maayos na mga tao ‘yan, and they are people worthy of our trust (It is a very powerful symbolic act that would show that we in government are proper and are worthy of trust).”

He stressed that the priority of President Duterte is to regain public trust with regards to public service.

Asked whether PRRD has any information about politicians who used drug money in the last election, Abella said it’s part of the President’s message that he doesn’t want the country to fall into narcopolitics.

According to Abella, apparently, drug money is involved because there are mayors who have already acted independently of their parties during the campaign using their own money instead of asking for the support of their parties.

In his announcement last week about how drug lords operate in the country, President Duterte mentioned that local politicians, particularly mayors, are persons of interest in his administration’s campaign against illegal narcotics trade.

PRRD revealed the connivance of some policemen with Chinese triad members to distribute drugs in the country. (PND)

Abella: Abu Sayyaf still accountable
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) still has to answer to their actions.

Abella contextualized President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s earlier statement that he does not consider the group as criminals.

During an interview over DZRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, the Palace official said, “He (President Duterte) was just trying to explain the context kung ano ‘yung ginawa ‘nong ASG (on what the ASG has done).” 

He explained that “basically these are people who have already become desperate. But they (ASG) are still accountable for what they have done.”  

The presidential spokesperson said PRRD is not condoning the ASG’s actions but is just giving context that they were forced to desperation.

“I believe that was the context of the statement, ‘yung pinaggagawa nila may pinanggagalingan (he understands where their actions are coming from,” Abella said. 

He added that “hindi basta (not just) crime in the sense of just ordinary bandits pero meron silang (but they have) a motive, kaya lang (but) they still have to be answerable to their actions.”

Abella further explained that Mindanao has been neglected for many years and the President will work for peace in the country’s second biggest island, which the Duterte administration will transform from a land of promise to the land of fulfillment by improving the lives of Mindanaoans. (PND)