A top Roman Catholic bishop has expressed support for the medical use of marijuana in the Philippines.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), cited provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, that defends such use for marijuana.
“Catholic health care ethics in fact consider as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain,” Villegas said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the stand of RA 9165.
In backing the medical use of marijuana, the archbishop at the same time contradicted the position on the issue of Fr. Dan Cansino, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Health Care.
Cansino recently appealed to the government to find a better alternative medicine to marijuana and expressed opposition to the legalization of marijuana even for medical use as proposed by seven lawmakers.
Villegas, however, clarified that the public should “express concern about the surreptitious introduction of dangerous and addicting substances and making them legally and readily available to those prone to addiction.”
“The effects cannot be anything but harmful especially for the youth and children,” he said.
Recently, six more lawmakers decided to support the controversial House Bill 4477 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act authored by Rep. Rodolfo Albano of the 3rd District of Isabela.
Among those who co-authored the bill are representatives Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City (Metro Manila), Emi Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay City (Metro Manila), Roy Seneres of OFW party-list, Regina Reyes of Marinduque, Elisa Olga Kho of Masbate and Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental.
“This [bill]is in response to the demand of patients and caregivers, especially those suffering from cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or sever persistent muscle spasms,” Albano said.