Random drug tests for local officials backed

Published April 10, 2018, 4:05 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah L. Torregoza

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Monday said key government agencies other than the Philippine National Police (PNP) may conduct a random drug test among incumbent local officials to provide voters some insight about the candidates they wish to support in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

“The DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), as well as the barangay itself, may carry out random drug testing of current officials,” Angara said.

Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, also said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) may also launch a public information drive to help voters discern whom they should vote in the upcoming local elections in May.

“Similarly the Comelec and the PIA may have a public campaign for the public to know their candidates well and to reject any candidates who are known to be drug users or supporters of the drug trade,” added Angara.

Newly-appointed PNP Chief Director Oscar Albayalde had earlier said those seeking elective posts in the coming May, 2018 polls should undergo drug testing.

Albayalde said this is to help give voters an idea who they should vote as they must be wary of candidates who are involved in illegal drugs.

“Our countrymen should be educated on the persons they should vote for in their respective barangays,” Albayalde had said.

But detained Senator Leila de Lima scored Albayalde’s move, saying his proposal is selective. She said it should have started since 2016 when then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had been vying for the presidency.

“By requiring barangay and SK candidates to undergo drug testing, shouldn’t he think that candidates for national office should also be required to undergo drug testing, including candidates for president?” De Lima asked.

“Without casting any aspersion on his fitness and integrity, I’m afraid that Albayalde is starting on the wrong foot as he starts his stint as PNP Chief,” De Lima said in a statement.

Last week,Albayalde was quoted as saying that those running for the Barangay (village) and SangguniangKabataan (SK) elections this May 14, should undergo drug test and that voters should be wary of candidates who are involved in illegal drugs.

“Our countrymen should be educated on the persons they should vote for in their respective barangays,” Albayalde had said.

De Lima said Albayalde’s proposal is “anti-poor, violates equal protection, and smacks of class legislation.”

 
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