Mandatory drug test for solons, staff pressed

SURIGAO del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers reiterated his call for mandatory drug test for all members of the House of Representatives and their staff.

Barbers asked the incoming members of the 18th Congress,together with their staff,  to submit themselves to mandatory drug test once the new Congress opens on July 1. 

Barbers, who is set to re-file resolution No. 15 he filed last year seeking a “drug-free” Congress, said the move was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s  war on drugs, including those labeled as “narco-politicians.”

“While some may claim that it is unnecessary, I think all members of the incoming 18th Congress and their staff should submit themselves for a mandatory drug testing. New members of the uniformed service, public and private offices are being required nowadays to submit to a drug test. And why don’t we? Are we exempt from this?” Barbers said.  

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, explained that his resolution requires all lawmakers, their staff, consultants, officers, and all employees of the House to submit to a mandatory drug test before assumption to office, and every year thereafter.

Failure to comply shall be a ground for withholding  salaries, wages, and benefits, in addition to sanctions provided by civil service laws and rules. 

“The House of Representatives should underscore its commitment, support and participation to anti-drug policies, programs and projects of the Duterte administration by ensuring that its own workplace is a drug-free institution,” Barbers added.

Barbers said many Filipinos and several anti-drug law enforcement agencies are aware that these “narco-politicians” used their “unlimited: resources to fund their election campaign in the recent May 13 polls.” 

“We, the incoming members of the 18th Congress and our staff, should all come in ‘clean’ and be free from negative suspicion by submitting ourselves to a mandatory drug test,” he said.  

Malacañang earlier said it is in favor of a mandatory drug testing for all government employees, saying it would indicate if people in government are drug-free and “worthy of trust.”