Iñaki orders drug test in hiring job order workers; PHO chief: “it could be useless”

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/ 30 January) Malaybalay City mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri ordered drug testing for the hiring and renewal of the city’s job order employees in an administrative order he issued on January 25, two days after confirming eight members of his staff were found by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents to have used shabu. 

“..starting the year 2012, all persons seeking employment on job order basis and those seeking renewal thereof shall undergo drug testing procedure as a prerequisite requirement for the hiring of and/or renewal of their job order employment,” Zubiri said in Administrative Order No. 07 Series of 2012.

Zubiri tasked the Human Resource Management Office to implement the order.

According to the HRMO, the city government employs about 1,390 job order employees as of December 2011.

Zubiri said the public views the job order employees as City Hall employees even if they have no employer-employee relationship.

“In view of this public perception, it is important that the city government of Malaybalay shall ensure that only persons with proven integrity shall be hired on job order basis,” he added.

In her January 26 memorandum to the city government’s department heads and other concern officials, Julieta Dominguez, HRMO officer in charge, said failure to comply with the order will be a ground for non-renewal of job order appointment.
Dominguez instructed the city’s job order employees to submit to drug testing at the Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO) Laboratory at the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office.
She also specified that the drug testing will be conducted on January 27, 28, 30, and February 1 to 3, 2012.


She told Bukidnon News via telephone random drug testing for regular and casual employees will follow.
But Dr. Teresita Damasco, Bukidnon provincial health officer, told Bukidnon News via telephone if the last time they used shabu was within 24 hours before drug test, then it might be detected.

She explained that the drug substances will be flushed from the body after 24 hours.

“Some drug users are good at this so the drug test better be done quickly after suspicion of drug use,” she added.

She recommended the conduct of random time drug test so the users won’t be able to prepare.

The drug test order came two days after Zubiri confirmed reports city government employees were found to have used illegal drugs and owned them as “under the mayor’s office” in a two-paragraph  statement dated January 23.

Zubiri said he issued the statement to confirm that eight employees from the city government were found to have used illegal drugs a week after the city was rife with rumors on the issue.

The statement came 12 days after the employees stopped reporting to work as of January 11 after they tendered resignation, based on the mayor’s statement released Tuesday morning.

“I have called the attention of these employees and advised them to resign,” he added.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is in possession of six video footages showing employees of Malaybalay City Hall using shabu during office hours and caught on camera while in uniform, the PDEA source in Bukidnon told Bukidnon News.
The PDEA official who asked not to be named for security reasons said they presented the evidence to Zubiri on January 16.
The PDEA official said there is an increasing prevalence of public officials and employees in Bukidnon who are using illegal drugs, most of them from prominent families. He said they, too, are placed under surveillance subject of their future operations.
The videos showed eight persons in pot session, some of them in city government office uniform and were videoed during office hours, the PDEA official added. But he said the video footages were taken in an area that appears to be outside City Hall compound.


PDEA Bukidnon refused to reveal the names of the suspects referring reporters to the city government. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)


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