Gerente’s ‘negative PDEA drug test’ inadmissible defense – EPD chief

September 3, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 263 views

THE erstwhile chief of the Mandaluyong City Police Station who tested positive for prohibited drugs both during initial screening and confirmatory tests conducted by the Philippine National Police-Forensic Group (PNP-FG) cannot use a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency ‘negative result’ on another urine specimen he submitted two days after his initial examination, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

Colonel Cesar T. Gerente was earlier ordered relieved from his post by Eastern Police District director, Brigadier General Wilson P. Asueta after his urine specimen tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu when examined twice by the PNP-FG.

He was also stripped of his service firearm and is now facing criminal and administrative charges after testing positive for drugs in both initial screening and confirmatory tests conducted by the PNP.

However, the Journal Group learned that last August 29, Col. Gerente went to the PDEA Laboratory Service and submitted another urine specimen which tested ‘negative for methamphetamine, cocaine, and their metabolites as well as THC metabolite.’

The PDEA Laboratory Service report said that ‘these examination results were based on the condition of the urine specimen at the time of examination.’

Officials said that 48 hours really can spell some difference here citing the fact that, unlike marijuana, the presence of methamphetamine in one man’s system can be erased in many ways, hours before another test is made.

PDEA chair Director General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo has ordered an investigation into why their protocols were not observed during the drug testing of Gerente. There is an existing policy that all requests for drug tests at the PDEA Laboratory Service must be coursed through the Office of the PDEA Director General and approved by the latter.

Officials also explained that as a matter of ‘inter-agency courtesy,’ PDEA is not a venue to question the result of a drug test conducted by the PNP-FG.

The job is given to the National Reference Laboratory or NRL which is the technical arm of the Department of Health. The NRL which is under the administration of the DOH-run East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City implements quality assurance and in many cases is the main facility where testing for resistance to first and second-line drugs is done.

Brig. Gen. Asueta told the Journal Group that Gerente cannot use the ‘negative’ PDEA result in challenging the PNP-FG chemistry report. “We have protocols in the PNP and it says that the same urine specimen, the same urine sample should be the one subjected to a drug test,” the EPD director said.

PDEA Chief of Staff and spokesperson, Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon echoed Brig. Gen. Asueta’s assertion. “It is not enough basis to support a contest. It’s improper and our rules, our protocol say that the same specimen should be used when somebody is questioning the result of a drug test,” the official said.

Carreon said that the NRL is also the proper facility to question a drug test.