Candidates for barangay polls in Cotabato City ordered to submit to drug test

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 25 April) – No law requires it, but candidates for the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections here were ordered by the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council to undergo a drug test, it was learned Tuesday.

Candidates for barangay elections in Cotabato City wave their drug test results during an audience with City Mayor Cynthia Sayadi on 24 April 2018. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

Hundreds of candidates presented their drug test results Tuesday to City Mayor Cynthia Sayadi, the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency at the city hall.

Sayadi, who chairs the council, insisted that the candidates must submit to a drug test to prove that they support President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“The first step there is, dapat hindi sila (they should not be) drug addict. So the only way for them to prove that is a drug test, iniimpose po natin yan sa lahat ng (we’re imposing it on all) candidates,” she said.

Azurin Juvenal, director of PDEA-Region 11 said the imposition of drug tests for all candidates is the city’s contribution to Duterte’s goal of making the country drug-free by 2022, the end of his term as president.

Some barangay officials in the city were included in Duterte’s drug watch list.

Jimmy Sandigan, a candidate for barangay chair said he had no problem with the order because it will prove that they (candidates) are not involved in illegal drugs.

The 1987 Constitution doesn’t require candidates for barangay elections to undergo a drug test.

But Congress may enact a law providing for additional requirements for those who will run for barangay positions. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)