22 Cebu City hall workers who tested positive for drugs might face the ax

THE 22 Cebu City Hall employees who tested positive during the drug test conducted by the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap) will face dismissal if they don’t submit to an investigation that will be conducted by the City Legal Office.

They will also be fired if they fail to present controverting evidence during the investigation, said City Attorney Rey Gealon.

The Cosap conducted drug test in all offices of the Cebu City Government on Nov. 11, 2019.

Twenty-one tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, and one tested positive for marijuana.

Of the 22, five are from the Market Operations Division; 10 from the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enforcement team; two from the Department of General Services; two from the Parks and Playground Committee; and one each from the City Registrar’s Office and the Operation Second Chance.

The one assigned at the City Registrar’s Office is a regular employee, according to Cosap head Jonah John Rodriguez.

Rodriguez explained that all who tested positive will still have to go through a confirmatory test.

Rodriguez said they conducted the drug test upon the directive of Mayor Edgardo Labella to strictly implement City Ordinance 1829 that requires all employees of City Hall to undergo compulsory drug testing as a pre-employment requirement. The ordinance also requires Cosap to conduct random drug tests.

The ordinance was passed in 2000.

Rodriguez said they will conduct more random surprise drug tests not only in City Hall but also in the city’s 80 barangays.

He said no one is exempted from undergoing the drug test as the ordinance provides that all Cebu City Hall employees, including job orders, casuals, regular employees and government officials must submit themselves to it.

When Labella assumed the position of mayor, he said he was firm in his mission to have a drug-free administration.

“How could you be physically and mentally fit if you’re using drugs?” Labella said in a previous interview.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez said that if the confirmatory tests for the 22 employees come out positive and the investigation proves they are drug users, the job orders will be dismissed, while the contracts of the casual employees will not be renewed. The regular employee, though, will be given due process, he said.

Employees who refuse to get tested without a valid reason will also be investigated.

Gealon said legal officers will be assigned to investigate the 22 employees, but with compliance of due process. (JJL)