Pangasinan barangay, SK bets urged to undergo drug test

DAGUPAN CITY -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in Pangasinan has asked barangay and Sanggguniang Kabataan (SK) election candidates in the province to undergo voluntary drug test.

Lawyer Marino Salas, provincial election supervisor of Comelec-Pangasinan, during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas Pangasinan chapter forum, said on April 12 that the voluntary drug test of candidates would be held simultaneously with the signing of covenant for drug-free and safe elections.

Salas, however, clarified the drug test is not a qualification, neither a requirement for candidates.

“It was agreed upon during our joint command conference with the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday to initiate the test since the postponement of this election was made twice on the grounds of alleged involvement of some barangay officials to illegal drugs trade as stated by our president,” he said.

Salas said the list of candidates who have and have not undergone drug test would be made available to the public, or be posted in the police station of their respective town or city for the voters to see.

He said the drug test would be handled by the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory in Lingayen.

“The fees for the drug test and the schedule will depend on the discretion of the police chief of the town or city,” he added.

Meanwhile, Salas revealed that no barangay in the province has been enlisted in the election watch-list area.

Nonetheless, he admitted the scenario might still change after the filing of the certificate of candidacy on April 14.

Pangasinan has 1,799,052 registered voters for the barangay and SK elections this year. (PNA)