Compulsory drug test for drivers

Drivers applying for new or renewal of driver’s licenses are still required to undergo the  mandatory drug testing in Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.

The furor over the mandatory drug tests surfaced anew after several complaints were aired over “Inyong Alagad” over the perceived “costly and useless requirement” endured by applicants for driver’s licenses from the LTO.

Drug testing centers operating near LTO premises charges P300 per test for LTO applicants which they consider “exorbitant” even as LTO Tagbilaran Supervisor Erwin Patalinghug informed the public that they can avail of drug tests in government and private hospitals.ern

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Fixers who use to abound in the LTO office revealed that with strict ban on their presence in the LTO, their activities are limited  to steering clients to their favored drug testing certer for “referral fee of” of P100 per client.

SOLGEN’S CONCERN

Atty. Vicente Gador, Jr., Legal Officer of the Land Transportation Office Regional Office – Central Visayas confirmed over DYRD “Inyong Alagad” the permanent injunction issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59, Toledo City Executive Judge Hermes Montero.

Gador said that the permanent injunction issued on October 9, 2013 by Montero is still in place until the main case will be resolved but clarified that the case is now with the Office of the Solicitor General.

Former Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza stated that “RA 10586 expressly repealed the requirement of drug testing for applicants of the driver’s license imposed under section 36 (a) or RA 9165. Further, that since there is no judicial order declaring RA 10586 void, the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality. Thus, there is presently no law requiring drug testing before a driver’s license can be issued or renewed.”

Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio told the media that the Office of the Governor will bring the matter to the representative of the solicitor general’s office on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

MAINTAIN TESTS

A certain Dulcisimo Tuldanes successfully convinced Montero to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that ripened into a permanent injunction after a car hit his house and the driver was later on found driving under the influence of liquor.

Tuldanes told the court that the mandatory drug tests should be continued before a driver’s permit or license could be issued to prevent untoward vehicular accidents caused by persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The permanent injunction was issued four months after President Benigno S. Aquino lll approved Republic Act (RA) 10586 known as the “Anti Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 authored by Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto.

RA 10586 repealed section 36(A) of RA 9165 which states that “No driver’s license shall be issued or renewed to any person unless he/she presents a certification that he/she has undergone a mandatory drug test and indicating thereon that he/she is free from the use of a dangerous drugs”.

FUTILE

But Sotto debunked claims that mandatory drug tests before the issuance of a driver’s license would drastically lessen the incidence of drug related traffic accidents.

Sotto stressed that the tests has been found ineffective to combat substance abuse with drug testing centers reaping financial returns from the mandatory tests.

According to Sotto, “out of millions and millions of driver’s licenses drug testing certifications, only 0.06% or less than half a percent tested positive. It is inutile. The purpose is defeated.”

The mandatory drug test was replaced by a comprehensive driver’s education course that provides information on safe driving and effects of consumption of alcoholic beverages, dangerous drugs on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle.

With a permanent injunction still in place, applicants for new or renewal driver’s permits or licenses will still undergo mandatory drug testing in the LTO Tagbilaran District office and it’s two extension offices in Jagna and Talibon. (Chito M. Visarra)



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