Rama submits self to drug test

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Friday, January 24, 2014


CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama said the City Council cannot tell him what to do, and dictate that he take a drug test.

“Nganong magbuot man sila nako? Dili ko magpabuot (Why should they tell me what to do? I will not be dictated upon),” Rama said in his daily press conference Thursday noon.

Less than an hour after he openly defied the Council, the mayor submitted himself to the drug test.

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The City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap) discreetly conducted the drug test on the mayor at the Office of Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella past 1 p.m.

When Sun.Star Cebu tried to get a confirmation from Rama through a text message, he replied: “Secret.”

Labella was not around when the test was made but after asking his staff about it, he confirmed with Sun.Star Cebu that the mayor indeed had the drug test.

When the result of the test will be out, or whether this will be made public is yet to be ascertained.

In Thursday’s press conference at the White Gold House where a post-Sinulog assessment was held, Rama was asked what would happen if the employees refuse to submit themselves to a drug test, citing the mayor’s refusal as reason.

“Mataktak sila. Ngano gud tawn molabaw sila sa mayor (They will be fired. Why should they think themselves as above the mayor)?” said Rama.

Last Wednesday, all 18 members of the Cebu City Council voluntarily submitted themselves to a drug test. [READ: Cosap conducts drug tests on councilors]

It was in compliance with the corollary motion of Councilor Alvin Dizon to have all elected officials, from the mayor down to the councilors, undergo the drug screening.

The main resolution was sponsored by Councilor Richard Osmeña, who asked to authorize the City Health Department and the Cebu City Medical Center to conduct the drug test for all City Hall employees.

The resolution sought to implement City Ordinance 1829 or the “Ordinance Requiring All Employees of the City Government of Cebu to Undergo Compulsory Drug Testing as a Pre-Employment Requirement and Annual at Random Drug Check-Ups.”

It was approved on April 26, 2000 and was authored by Labella.

Both Rama and Labella were then councilors.

Rama also voted for its passage.

Labella said, though, that elected officials are not covered by the ordinance.

“We cannot compel the mayor and it was voluntary on the part of the members of the Council to undergo drug screening,” said Labella.

But Dizon said that in his “humble understanding” of the ordinance, elected officials are also employees of the City Government.

“Nobody is dictating the mayor. If he does not want to submit to a drug test, that’s his prerogative. He will have to explain his refusal to the Cebuanos,” said Dizon.

“For us in the Council, we believe in the usefulness and reasonableness of the process to assure our constituents that we are not engaged in any illegal activity, thus, worthy of public trust,” Dizon said.

During the press conference, when he insisted that he should not be compelled to take a drug test, Rama said that he already had a drug test earlier. He, however, did not give a specific date.

Rama said the mayor should not be dictated upon.

When Dizon learned that Rama already had the test, he said: “Pakuha raman diay siya, nganong pakipot pa sa sinugdanan (Why was he hesitant when he would take the drug screening test anyway)?” (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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