Manila village chiefs fail drug test

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Mayor Joseph Estrada on Monday confirmed that several barangay (village) chiefs have tested positive for drug use after undergoing mandatory drug tests last November.

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“Apparently, there were some who are into drugs. I don’t know the exact number yet,” Estrada said.

As early as July last year, the mayor directed the chairmen to submit the list of drug users in their respective villages. However, some refused to comply, prompting Estrada to suspect that the barangay chiefs themselves may be drug users or are involved in the trade of illegal drugs.

On November 7, he ordered mandatory drug testing of 7,168 elected village officials, including councilmen.

The Manila Health Department (MHD) will conduct confirmatory drug testing on all those who tested “positive” for drug use.

“They should prepare for the consequences. They know I’m not bluffing. Drug addicts simply have no place in the government,” Estrada said.

Those who will eventually be found positive for drug use after undergoing confirmatory tests will be slapped with the most severe punishment in accordance with the regulations set by the Civil Service Commission, Executive Order 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987, and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Based on the 1987 Administrative Code, government employees and officials who will test positive for the use of dangerous drugs shall be subjected to disciplinary/administrative proceedings with a penalty of dismissal at the first offense.

Estrada vowed to file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against erring barangay officials.
MHD chief Benjamin Yson said the barangay chairmen who tested positive for drugs last November were advised to proceed to the East Avenue Medical Center for the confirmatory tests.

Yson added that once the final results come out, the city government will make them public.

Only 60 percent of the 896 village chairmen have so far been subjected to the mandatory drug test.
Estrada and the 36-member city council, including Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, had subjected themselves to mandatory drug testing at the City Hall on August 18. None tested positive for drugs.

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