MORE celebrities have voluntarily taken drug tests to show their support for President Duterte’s war on drugs with big names like Kapamilya star Anne Curtis testing negative.
However, some of the showbiz personalities have aired strong opposition to making public the list of actors and actresses involved in drug trafficking and abuse.
In the wake of the arrest of some of their colleagues -- active or not -- including Mark Anthony Fernandez, the son of late action star Rudy Fernandez and actress-turned-politician Alma Moreno, actors like Rez Cortez called on President Duterte not to release the names of their colleagues who are into drugs and instead asked the outspoken Philippine leader to give them a chance to reform by undergoing a drug rehabilitation program.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa earlier bared that there are 54 celebrities, among them the host of a top-rating television show allegedly involved in illegal drug abuse.
“Yung listahan na nai-submit kay President Duterte is 54. Ang basis nito yung celebrities na nahuli natin, yung mga celebrity suppliers na sila 'yung pinagbebentahan. Sila yung mga customer. Nakuha natin yung mga pangalan doon at umabot sa 54,” said the top cop.
Gen. Dela Rosa also said that the list of 54 celebrities is separate from a previous list of 30 so-called narco-celebrities submitted to the President.
Apart from Fernandez, police have arrested radio disc jockey Karen Bordador, actresses Sabrina M and Krista Miller, and two men's magazine models for possession of illegal drugs.
So far, officials of Star Magic, the talent management arm of the Kapamilya network, said more than 50 of their artists have tested negative for drugs. The management of ABS-CBN said that their talents underwent a supervised and voluntary drug test to belie rumors of drug use in its community and also to serve as a role model to their fans.
Apart from Curtis, some of those who tested negative for shabu and marijuana abuse were Jake Cuenca, Enrique Gil and Diego Loyzaga.
Celebrities wanted to squelch rumors many of them were into drugs amid the start of the Philippine National Police Project Double Barrel Alpha, a new PNP stragegy focused on arresting politicians, military, police, government officials and celebrities involved in illicit drug activities.
The new strategy, according to PNP chief De la Rosa, will also see police working more closely with local government authorities and residents to clear drug-affected barangays. Officials of the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency earlier decried the presence of many public officials including barangay authorities who are involved either in the drug trade or use of banned substance.
In Quezon City which is home to the Kapamilya (ABS-CBN ) and Kapuso (GMA 7) networks, Q.C. Police District director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they will begin a series of dialogues with the management of the giant networks and other actors’ organizations as part of their ongoing anti-drug campaign.
“We are considering those in the list as ‘high-value’ targets since they are indeed famous and influential,” said Eleazar whose men had arrested Sabrina M. and Miller.
Since last July 1, some artists including those who admitted that they were once drug users have already appeared before the police and requested to undergo drug tests.
Some like Luis “Lucky” Manzano, the son of Edu Manzano and Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, surfaced at the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame to take a voluntary drug test.
So far, none of the celebrities who took the drug test at the PNP Crime Lab have tested positive for drug abuse.
As of yesterday, Fernandez remained in jail on non-bailable drug charges, said Police Regional Office 3 director Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino.
PRO3 officials earlier expressed disgust over some showbiz personalities who defended Fernandez and even accused them of violating his human rights or supporting his claims that he was a victim of a frame-up.
Aquino defended the Angeles City police from accusations aired by some fellow showbiz personalities.
“First, we don’t have any reason to plant marijuana in his car. Second, it is against the law to plant evidence. Third, the checkpoint was legitimate and done regularly,” he said.
Aquino said the 37-year-old Fernandez would not be able to evade the law.
“Marijuana and its residues were all over his car, on the seats, on the flooring, they were seen in plain view by my men along with a pack of marijuana on the passenger’s seat because the windows on the left and right sides were opened,” the member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1985 said.
Gen. Dela Rosa earlier guaranteed that celebrities including movie and television personalities who are into illegal drug activities will not be exempted from the ongoing PNP Oplan: Tokhang which may even be brought to their home stations.
Two weeks ago, PNP officials called on showbiz, music and sports personalities who are into drugs to yield and submit themselves to a treatment program.