Detained Senator Leila De Lima on Wednesday expressed alarm over the house-to-house drug testing being conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City as part of the administration’s “massive drug clearing operation”.
De Lima, a staunch critic of the government’s war on drugs, said on-the-spot drug tests which are implemented by policemen using a “do-it-yourself drug testing kit” are not only inaccurate but also violates the due process of law.
“The poor people are the ones being harassed from all these reckless actions led by our police authorities. This operation is obviously inaccurate and incriminatory because the drug tests were not conducted by accredited people and agency,” De Lima said.
The embattled senator’s statements came as she noted Fr. Danny’s Facebook post describing the house-to-house drug tests in Brgy. Payatas with police simultaneously conducting surveys of residents and requesting them for urine samples to confirm whether they are guilty of using illegal drugs like shabu and marijuana.
Fr. Daniel “Danny” Pilario, a priest from Parokya ng Ina ng Lupang Pangako in Payatas, also posted photos showing gates of the houses marked by the police and barangay leaders surveying houses of residents who may have already been tested for illegal drug use.
Under Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act, De Lima added all drug tests must be completed by “government forensic laboratories or by any of the drug testing laboratories accredited and monitored by the DOH to safeguard the quality of test results.”
An article published on Vera Files confirmed the authenticity of Fr. Pilario’s post, affirming that the random house-to-house drug testing is being conducted by policemen and barangay officials to clean up the drug threats.
A two-minute video presented by Vera Files shows a teenager being asked to undertake drug test instead of his father who was actually the person the police were looking for. In another house, a grandmother was forced to submit urine sample but was verified negative for drugs.
Bgy. Kagawad Alejandro Adan, chairman of the barangay’s peace and order committee, stressed that when found positive, a person’s name is placed on a watch list but was not sure what would happen to him next.
Though the police and the barangay leaders consider the drug testing method as an alternative to killings of suspects, De Lima said it still violates the rights of the poor.
“Barangay Payatas houses thousands of disadvantaged families. By conducting this unauthorized drug testing, people continue to live in fear while the rich and the privileged who are behind the drug cartel enjoy their freedom without being questioned,” the senator said.
As one of the most vocal political opponents of the Duterte administration, De Lima is detained on allegedly drug charges.