De Lima wants drug tests in jails amid NBP drug trade resurgence
Senator Leila de Lima has filed a resolution seeking a mandatory and unannounced drug tests for prisoners and custodians alike.
“With this measure, it is envisioned that our detention facilities and correctional institutions shall finally be rid of the scourge of illegal drugs,” De Lima said in a statement on Monday.
The senator was reacting to reports regarding Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s admission of the resurgence of illegal drug use and trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) despite the government’s war against drugs.
“Reports that our penal institutions are at the crux of the illegal drugs trade in the country are not new,” De Lima pointed out in the explanatory note of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1496, also known as the Drug-Free Prisons Act of 2017.
Despite the administration’s intensive anti-drugs campaign, De Lima said that “the current measures being implemented are still ineffective in eradicating the drug problems in our penitentiary system.”
Under SB 1496, all correctional and detention facilities are mandated to conduct drug tests to all detainees, prisoners and their custodians at random and unannounced intervals for more than once a year.
This will be required in all facilities maintained by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Corrections, as well as the custodial centers of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Investigation, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The resolution also requires detainees who will test positive for drug use to undergo a drug dependency examination and be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.
Positive drug results will also affect any petition of a prisoner who is seeking pardon or parole.
Also under the bill, government employees in detention facilities who will be tested positive will be subjected to drug dependency examination without prejudice to being subject to administrative and criminal sanctions. Airei Kim Guanga, INQUIRER.net trainee/JE/rga