Neophyte solons express opposing views on the proposed mandatory drug test and “no-work, no-pay policy” measures

MANILA — A number of neophyte lawmakers have expressed differing views on proposals filed in the House of Representatives requiring House members to submit to a mandatory drug testing and imposing the “no-work, no-pay policy” to curb absenteeism among their ranks.

In an interview, Rep. Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija) said she is in favor of the resolution filed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers mandating lawmakers, their legislative staff, consultants, officers and other employees of the House to undergo drug testing simply because she is not a user and she is against drugs.

On the other hand, Rep. Gloria Labadlabad (2nd District, Zamboanga del Norte) objected to the proposal, stating there is no need for lawmakers to undergo such drug test personally because of her high regard in the integrity of the majority of the elected legislators.

“Mandatory drug test for all just to address a few cases is unnecessary,” Labadlabad opined.

Barbers’ resolution, which gained the support of incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, provides that all members shall submit to the mandatory drug test before assumption to office, and every year thereafter. Failure to comply shall be a ground to withhold salaries, wages, and benefits, in addition to sanctions provided by civil service laws and rules.

Meanwhile, Violago thrashed out the proposal of Rep. Toby Tiangco (Lone District, Navotas City) seeking to adopt a “no work, no pay” policy for the members of the 17th Congress stating there are a lot of things to consider.

“For instance, there are district meetings and obligations that cannot be postponed. Partaking in these things is also in aid of legislation,” Violago said.

However, Labadlabad welcomed the proposal as long as it abides by the existing policy of the House pertaining to absences and coverage of exemption.

House Bill No. 412 imposes salary deductions to any member of the Congress who would not attend, participate and take part in the regular and special sessions of Congress. PNA/