MANILA A staunch anti-drug advocate lawmaker on Friday renewed his call for all members of the House of Representatives and their staff to submit to mandatory drug testing once the 18th Congress opens on July 1.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the move is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign of total war against drugs, including against those labeled as narco-politicians.
The lawmaker said he is set to re-file a resolution seeking a drug-free Congress" for the purpose.
House Resolution 15, which Barbers filed last year, 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 to withhold salaries, wages, and benefits, in addition to sanctions provided by civil service laws and rules.
"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. So why don't we? Are we exempt from this?" the chair of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs said.
He said that far from being exempt, the House, where all legislation starts, should set an example.
The House of Representatives should underscore its commitment, support and participation (in) anti-drug policies, programs and projects of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration by ensuring that its own workplace is a drug-free institution, Barbers said.
Furthermore, he said that submitting themselves and their staff to mandatory drug testing would free lawmakers from any negative suspicion.
Majority of the people, particularly President Duterte, and the various anti-drug law enforcement agencies, are aware that some 'narco-politicians' used their unlimited resources to fund their elections in the just-concluded mid-term elections, he said.
"We, the incoming members of the 18th Congress and our staff, should all come in 'clean' by submitting ourselves to a mandatory drug test, Barbers said.
MalacaAang has earlier stated that 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. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency