CH probes return of drug-tainted employees

SOME employees of the Cebu City Government who resigned after testing positive in surprise drug tests have applied again for a job at City Hall.

Three are reportedly back at work, but City Attorney Rey Gealon could only confirm one.

Gealon chose not to disclose their names because of an ongoing investigation.

He recommends amending City Ordinance (CO) 1829 that requires all City Hall employees to undergo drug testing.

He said employees who were dismissed or who resigned after testing positive in drug tests should be barred from working at City Hall again unless they can show proof that they underwent and completed a drug treatment and rehabilitation program.

The city attorney recommended that Mayor Edgardo Labella issue an executive order directing the Human Resource Development Office to indicate in its database the names of drug-positive employees who resigned and who were dismissed.

He said the mayor should also issue a memorandum addressed to all department heads not to accept resignation letters of employees found positive for illegal drug use. They should endorse these to Labella’s office for approval or denial, he said.

The City Legal Office (CLO), in a legal opinion, highlighted the 10 employees from the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team and the four employees from the City Market Authority Division who resigned days before the CLO could issue show-cause notices.

“It appears that these employees already knew what was forthcoming so much so that they readily tendered their resignation even before the service of the show-cause notice,” it said.

As of the second week of January 2020, 71 employees had tested positive for illegal drug use.

In December 2019, the CLO issued the termination order of 13 casual and job-order workers.

The series of drug tests was conducted by the Cebu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention in accordance with CO 1829. (JJL)