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TWO SOLONS WEIGH IN ON DRUG TESTING ISSUE FOR LGU CANDIDATES
« on: April 08, 2018, 07:38:48 AM »
Press Release
TWO SOLONS WEIGH IN ON DRUG TESTING ISSUE FOR LGU CANDIDATES

Only by amending the Local Government Code of 1991 can drug testing be required for candidates for elective posts at the Sangguniang Kabataan, barangay, city, municipal, and provincial levels, two ranking congressmen have said.

In response to the suggestion of the Liga ng mga Barangay that possibly a presidential executive order is enough to require drug testing of candidates, Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (1-CARE Party-List) and Rep. Michael Romero (1-PACMAN Party-List) both said Republic Act 7160 would have to be amended to make drug testing a requirement for candidates for local elective posts.

“The qualifications for elected local government officials are provided in the Local Government Code of 1991...If the intent is to make sure our country does not have drug addicts and drug dependents as elected local officials or as executives of national government agencies, then that can be done by passing a law—either through Congress or by Initiative—but not through executive order,” Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Rep. Michael Romero said, “mandatory drug testing for President, Vice President, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Commissions requires amendment of the Constitution.”

SLIM CHANCE

According to Uybarreta, the chances are slim for drug testing to become a requirement to run for barangay and SK posts.

“For the May 2019 local elections, there is still time to pass a law requiring candidates to pass a drug test, but for the barangay and SK elections this May, there is no more time. However, if the Senate and House can be convinced to postpone the barangay and SK elections, then there is time for to pass a new law on the drug testing requirement,” Rep. Uybarreta said.

He adds that even if Congress is convinced to postpone the barangay and SK election now, there are “serious time constraints.”

“Congress is on its summer break now. The barangay and SK elections are just weeks away. Congress would have to cut short its summer break or President Duterte would have to call a special session of Congress. There might not be enough time to postpone the barangay and SK elections,” Uybarreta said.

For his part, sportsman Rep. Michael Romero said that like athletes who compete in national and international sports, “our elected politicians, candidates for elective positions, and civil servants must also be exemplars against illegal drugs and be drugs-free.”

DRUG TESTING USING HAIR SAMPLES

“There is also the matter of what kind of drug testing is needed to achieve the purpose of weeding out drug dependents in public service. It is very easy to circumvent drug testing of urine samples. Difficult to cheat is drug testing using hair follicle samples,” Romero said.

He said he is preparing a bill that would require “hair follicle-based testing for illegal drugs and other mind-altering chemicals to weed out drug dependents candidates for local government elective positions, as well as employees and applicants for regular, contractual, and casual positions in government.”

Romero said he will also recommend to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments that hair follicle drug testing be required for all elective and appointive positions mentioned in the Constitution.

“Cost of drug testing for employees and applicants for government service shall be borne by the government agencies concerned. Cost of drug testing for candidates and aspirants for elective local and national positions and for constitutional positions must be borne by the candidates and aspirants themselves,” Romero added. (END)

References: Drug Testing Guide https://goo.gl/fjGgSh  ABS-CBN https://goo.gl/xZAeVo

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