Issue of April 15, 2018

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Drug test for barangay, SK candidates pushed
by Jane B. Cadalig

Candidates for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections must prove they are not involved in illegal drugs.

Baguio Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said he supports the clamor that those vying for elective barangay and SK posts should be required to submit a certification that they tested negative for drugs use.

“I support the idea that the candidates must be required to undergo drug tests to make sure that those who will be elected are not involved in illegal drugs,” he said.

“I hope the Commission on Elections can come up with a firm stand about this and require the submission of a drug test certification.”

The mayor said a certification indicating that a candidate tested negative for illegal drugs use is one way in which the voters can be assured that the people they are putting into office are not involved in the illegal drug trade.

“We always tell our voters to elect officials who are not involved in drugs. It is a possibility that some candidates are involved in illegal drugs and making the drug test mandatory for candidates will make sure that the people who will be elected are not drug users,” he said.

Domogan said the issue was one of the concerns discussed during the recent National Peace and Order Council meeting for Luzon, in which directors of the different Comelec regional offices were present, among other agencies.

The Comelec has earlier said it does not have jurisdiction over candidates for the barangay elections who are in the list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s narco-politicians, since there is no law or guidelines that would serve as the poll agency’s basis in rejecting the certificates of candidacy of aspiring political leaders.

In the same manner, the PDEA said it cannot bar candidates who are in its narco-politicians list because election-related matters are not part of its mandate.

The barangay and SK elections, originally set in October last year, was re-scheduled to May 14. The postponement was grounded on President Rodrigo Duterte’s assertion that drug money might be used in the grassroots political exercise through the drug lords who finance barangay officials running for office.

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