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Showbiz ‘tokhang’

THE Film Industry is worried of being un-hinged with reports a list of movie personalities involved in illegal drugs is currently undergoing a validation phase by identified pushers before it is finalized, and with the guidance of the NCRPO of the Philippine National Police (PNP), prior release to the public.

It will be recalled, the Duterte Administration in its no nonsense war against the endemic proliferation of prohibited narcotics, employed the very same template exposing to media several sectors and personalities connected to the nefarious activity. There was a catalogue of politicians, judges (alive and dead), PNP generals (active and retired), to include a crime chart, no less President Digong was unraveling the web of drugs as main initiator for crime, prostitution, and money, linked to maximum held prisoners in the National Penitentiary, leading all the way to mainland China.

With the arrest of actors Sabrina M and Mark Anthony Fernandez on prime-time news for possession of the prohibited substance “shabu” and one kilo of marijuana, respectively, the anti-drug campaign has uncovered poster-boys for another vulnerable but high profile sector in Philippine society. This is part of the ever-expanding war and tallying of the extent of the problem, so the public is made aware of the actual state of the drug menace. Current debate whether to release the roll of showbiz names is met with advisement from the likes of Rez Cortez who counsel, this could be damaging to the actors concerned, since that all the artists has his name and his fans. Boy Abunda is against the whole idea of labeling – identifying the industry as having a drug problem, when it is the entire society wrestling with drugs. Dissenting voices point to “special treatment” if the names of movie personalities are not made public. The middle ground here could be a “tokhang” approach – voluntary admission with rehabilitation in exchange for non-disclosure of the celluloid names. If individuals break their promise or return to pushing, that’s another matter! (Erik Espina)