MANILA, Philippines – TV giants ABS-CBN and GMA 7 said that they've been conducting mandatory drugs tests on their employees – including celebrity artists – amid allegations that Filipino celebrities were part of President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called "narco-list."
The "narco-list" is a list of personalities – from government and elsewhere – with alleged links to illegal drugs. Duterte himself had read out part of the list – covering only politicians – during a public event. He only read out 46 names because the rest, he said, were unverified. Rappler has withheld publication of the full list.
In a text message to Rappler on Monday, April 1, Kane Choa, head of ABS-CBN Corporate Communications said that drug tests are not only taken by the full-time employees but also the artists under the network. In many cases, artists are talents of the network – meaning they are not full-fledged employees.
"ABS-CBN has a drug-free workplace policy that includes mandatory random drug testing of all employees. Artists and third-party contractors are also subject to drug testing as stipulated in their contracts. ABS-CBN does not condone the use of illegal drugs and those who are found to have violated the policy will be subjected to appropriate sanctions."
Angela Javier Cruz, GMA vice president and head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, said in a separate statement that they've enforced random drug testing.
"GMA Network enforces a company-wide drug-free policy. We have been conducting regular random drug testing among our employees and talents to ensure a safe and productive work environment for all.”
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino said he wants to know the results of the drug tests conducted. According to a report from the Philippine Star, Aquino said that they want the networks to provide more details.
The PDEA earlier said that there were 31 popular celebrities in the drug list. – Rappler.com