In support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada announced on Sunday that the city government will soon conduct mandatory drug testing on all its elected barangay officials.
Estrada warned that those who will be found positive for drug use will be charged with criminal and administrative cases, aside from dismissal from service.
“We will do that from barangay chairmen down to the barangay kagawad (councilors). There will be no exemptions,” he said.
Estrada’s decision was prompted by Friday’s anti-drug operation in Islamic Center, Quiapo where incumbent Barangay 648 chairman Faiz Macabato was killed after fighting it out with policemen who were about to serve an arrest warrant on his drug suspect-brother.
“It is a betrayal of public trust. People elected them. Do you think they are worthy of their positions if they’re drug addicts?” he said.
“We won’t be lenient on any barangay officials who are into drugs. They have no excuses,” Estrada added.
Estrada, along with the 36-member Sangguniang Panglunsod, which includes Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, already subjected themselves to a surprise drug test at the city hall on August 18. None of them tested positive.
It was the first time in recent years that a city mayor voluntarily submitted himself to a drug test, and was also the first to be conducted at the Manila City Hall.
Estrada said there will be no sacred cows in his own anti-narcotics war.
“May this be a warning to them. There is no sacred cow in our anti-drug campaign. We are not afraid of anyone,” he said.
Estrada said he was not surprised that Macabato had been protecting his brother as the barangay captain was among those who have not submitted a list of drug users and pushers in their respective jurisdictions to the city hall.