Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has backed the initiative that would demand drug testing for lawmakers, their staff and employees of the House of Representatives, saying no one should fear the move unless they use drugs.
“Walang problema ‘yan kasi wala naman yatang adik na congressman, meron ba (I have no problem with that because there is no addict congressman, is there)?” the Davao del Norte representative who is President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal pick to lead the House, said in a radio interview.
A resolution filed by Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers calls for “mandatory drug testing of all members, legislative staff, consultants, officers and employees of the House of Representatives to ensure a drug-free workplace.”
However, Alvarez prefers drug testing for lawmakers to be voluntary.
Nevertheless, he said: “‘Pag wala ka namang problema, bakit hindi ka magda-drug test (If you don’t have a problem, why not submit to a drug test)?”
“This is in line with the anti-illegal drug campaign of the administration. Maybe, it’s better for the congressmen to undergo the test,” he added.
Barbers’ resolution say: "All (House) members shall submit to the mandatory drug test before assumption to office and regularly every year thereafter. Failure to do so shall be a ground to withhold the release of salaries, wages, and benefits, in addition to whatever appropriate sanctions under existing civil service laws, rules and regulations. The same rules apply to all legislative staff, consultants, officers and employees.”