5 Cebu CH employees who tested positive for drugs resign

AFTER testing positive for illegal drugs, five employees under the City Market Division of the Cebu City Government resigned.

They were among the 37 Cebu City Hall employees who tested positive during the surprise drug tests conducted by the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap).

The Cosap has been conducting surprise drug tests since Nov. 8, 2019, said Cosap head Jonah John Rodriguez.

He said they conducted the drug test in the office of the market division last Nov. 12.

Rodriguez said the urine samples were sent to a laboratory in Manila for confirmation. It takes at least 30 days for the results to be released.

Of the five who resigned, three are job orders and two are casuals.

City Market Administrator Jonil Matuguina was surprised when he learned about the five who tested positive, saying he trusted them.

“They would immediately do what I asked them to do... but we have to let go of those people,” he said in Cebuano.

He said he had a chance to talk to some of them and they admitted to him that they used drugs.

Four of the employees were positive for methamphetamine, or shabu, while one was positive for marijuana, he said.

Matuguina said the five employees admitted to being drug users in the past. They kicked the habit before applying at City Hall, which explained why they passed the drug test to get hired.

He said the five employees thought they could stay clean, but the pressure at work at the Carbon Public Market drove them to use drugs again.

“They said their duty hours were extended because we are undermanned,” Matuguina told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview.

The number of employees at the City Market Division is down to 98 after the resignation.

Last Nov. 18, City Attorney Rey Gealon issued a show-cause order to 21 drug-positive employees, one of whom is a regular employee at the Office of the City Civil Registrar.

Gealon said that some submitted written explanations with attached medical prescriptions, while others did not heed his notice.

Cosap chief Rodriguez said his office conducted the drug tests 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, which was passed in 2000, also requires Cosap to conduct random drug tests.

Up next for Cosap are the city’s 80 barangays, he said. / JJL