PA assures due process for 13 soldiers initially found positive for illegal drug use

MANILA — Due process will be given to the 13 Philippine Army (PA) personnel who were initially found to have failed the initial screening of the mandatory drug test conducted in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Tuesday.

“If the confirmatory test is positive, it is enough evidence for us to discharge our personnel. But we emphasized that due process is given to all our personnel based on existing laws and regulations about illegal drugs,” PA spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao said.

He added that the 13 Army personnel are now undergoing investigation and were immediately required to undergo further confirmatory test in a Department of Health-accredited drug testing establishment.

“Everybody was required to undergo the drug test led by our Army commanding general,” he stressed.

The drug test, which was conducted in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, was unannounced.

It was implemented during the conduct of the Army’s morning Taebo exercise on Tuesday.

“The PA is very serious in its anti-drug campaign. Since we started this campaign, 204 soldiers nationwide were already discharged from the service because of cases related to illegal drugs (131 soldiers nationwide were discharged in 2013; 38 in 2014; 30 in 2015; and five so far this year),” Hao added.

Section 36, Article 3 of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, mandates the conduct of random drug testing to public and private officers for purposes of reducing the risk in the workplace.

It also mandates the conduct of annual mandatory drug test to all members of the military.

These soldiers are now under custody of the Philippine Army for further investigation while waiting for the confirmatory test result. PNA/northboundasia.com