|Cong. Aris Aumentado, 2nd District Representative, Bohol|
by: MIKE ORTEGA LIGALIG
EA Boholano lawmaker has expressed strong opposition to a proposed House bill seeking to legalize the Philippine use of marijuana for medical purposes, saying the bill, if it becomes a law, would only aggravate the already worsening drug problem in the country. Bohol's Second District Rep. Aris Aumentado in an interview with The Post said the bill, which will be filed in March by Isabela Rep. Isabelo Albano III, is a mere “duplication” of HR No. 499 – otherwise known as “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013” – adding that such measure is not practical and applicable in a Philippine setting. “Our law enforcement agencies are already overburdened with solving the problem of illegal drugs in the country,” Aumentado said, “and enacting a law that would legalize the use of marijuana would just add headache to the authorities.”
He feared that if the use of cannabis is no longer prohibited in the Philippines even if it is only for medical purposes, the law would be vulnerable to abuse and misuse. “It would be easy for criminals to raise the defense of medical purposes whenever they are arrested in the possession of marijuana,” the Boholano legislator said.
There is a thin dividing line, Aumentado noted, between what is for medical purposes and what is for personal use and abuse.
He stressed that the country is still ineffective in regulating the use and sale of prescription drugs, thus the government would “certainly fail” in the proper use of marijuana. “Even though the use of marijuana is already legal in certain states in America, it does not mean that we should also legalize it here in the Philippines,” Aumentado pointed out. “America has a very organized and effective mechanism in law enforcements, but still the US has not been able to eliminate the problem on illegal drugs.”
Aumentado has vowed that not only would he oppose the legalization of marijuana, he said he would also campaign in the lower House enjoining fellow legislators to junk the bill. The Boholano solon believes that even if the bill would be approved in the House, Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III might veto it for being unpopular in public.
Bohol Sunday Post --- [link]