MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana in the Philippines, revealing he has been using cannabis oil to relieve tension.
“I’m using it. To reduce your tension, you can use the oil from marijuana. Ang masama diyan yung (What's bad is the) fiber, it can do addiction to you,” the 94-year-old politician said.
“When I’m overworked from reading, papahid lang sa likuran, mawawala 'yung (apply it to your back it will relieve) tiredness,” he added.
Asked about the source of the marijuana oil, Enrile said it was “brought to Manila by my daughter from California.”
Marijuana is legal in California.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a proposed measure legalizing the use of and research on medical marijuana in the country.
The Senate, meanwhile, opened its hearing on the House bill on Wednesday.
Enrile said the production of medical marijuana should be left to the private sector but regulated by the government.
“Let it be a function of business, but regulated and controlled by the government. Let the farmers of the country benefit out of it,” he said.
Enrile, an enduring figure in Philippine politics, is seeking a return to the Senate and may well become among the oldest legislators in history if elected again. Turning 95 on Valentine's Day, his longevity has been the subject of online memes.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier said she uses a marijuana-based pain patch to address pain in her cervical spine whenever in a country where it is allowed.
President Rodrigo Duterte had also stirred controversy by saying that he sometimes takes the substance to stay awake.
Malacañang earlier said Duterte will support any bill for the legalization of medical marijuana.