THE Department of Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police renewed their call on all candidates in the October 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to undergo voluntary drug test.
Before, the mandatory drug testing of all candidates for elective posts in both national and local governments was required under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2023.
Article III of RA 9165, which refers to Dangerous Drug Test and Record Requirements, says that ‘all candidates for public office whether appointed or elected both in the national or local government shall undergo a mandatory drug test.
It also says that those “found to be positive for dangerous drug use shall be subject to the provisions of Section 15’ of RA 9165.”
“If apprehended using any dangerous drug for the second time, he/she shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to 12 years and a fine ranging from P50,000 to P200,000.
DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ C. Abalos Jr. earlier encouraged all aspirants in the 2023 BSKE to submit themselves to drug testing as part of their effort to further strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal drug use.
The DILG chief said that these ‘future leaders’ should show their willingness to serve the country by undergoing voluntary drug tests, although it is not a requirement for running.
PNP chief General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. also issued the same challenge to the BSKE candidates even as he revealed they are monitoring over 400 barangay officials with suspected drug links.
The Commission on Elections has maintained that substance abuse is not included in the grounds for disqualifying anybody gunning for an elective post in the country.
The poll body explained that political aspirants may only be disqualified if a competent authority declares that they are insane or incompetent and have been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion, or any offense that a candidate served a sentence of more than 18 months, as stated under Omnibus Election Code.