A VISAYAN congressman admitted to colleagues on Monday that he was a former drug addict, prompting former Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. to challenge yesterday all elected public officials and celebrities who had been hooked on illegal substances to come out in the open and share their experiences.
In a privilege speech, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves admitted being a drug addict, but stressed that he has not taken drugs in the last 16 years.
“I was a very long time a drug addict. But I had been clean for the last 16 plus years,” said Teves as he lauded President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s war against drugs criminals. “I had fears that the Philippines was on its way of becoming a narco state.”
Teves has proposed a cheap rehabilitation program at P2,500 per addict.
In separate interviews, Belmonte and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged their colleagues, other elected officials and celebrities to follow the footsteps of Teves to help the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.
"That would also underscore that there is redemption and a bright future even for addicts. I hope others would emulate his commendable example,” said Belmonte, a Quezon City congressman.
Barbers stressed that the admission of government leaders and celebrities in the country about their dark past with illegal drugs will show that there is still hope for them to live normal lives again and become good examples.
“The act of Teves is admirable and should be emulated by others, especially people in government service. There is life after rehabilitation,” stressed Barbers.
Under Teves proposal, drug rehabilitation sessions can be conducted in public high schools from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. to save resources.
Teves explained that drug users will undergo counseling sessions where the government will only spend P2,500 per addict for the entire duration of a rehabilitation program.
“This is the time they have the most cravings; that’s why I suggest we make use of this time to help make use of our classrooms in the rehabilitation of our surrenderees,” Teves said.