Drug test and colorum

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


DRIVERS who want to apply for or renew their license must undergo a drug test… at least here in Central Visayas.

Toledo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 Judge Hermes Montero had ordered Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Arnel Tancinco to re-impose the drug test as a requirement.

Tancinco risks being cited for contempt or arrested if he defies the order.

Dulcisimo Tuldanes, a resident of Toledo City, had filed a civil case against LTO officials for lifting the drug test as a requirement in view of the passage of Republic Act (RA) 10586, or the Anti-drunk and Drugged Driving Act, which repealed Section 36 (a) of RA 9165, or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, that required driver’s license applicants to submit a drug test result before they can be issued one. It was former assistant secretary Virginia Torres who issued an administrative order lifting the requirement.

Tuldanes filed a declaration of nullify of memorandum, dated June 27, 2013, issued by Torres of the DOTC/LTO, and a prohibition and/or mandamus with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction/preliminary mandatory injunction.

Last year, Montero granted Tuldanes’s application and issued a writ of preliminary injunction. But the agency, through the Solicitor General’s Office, filed a motion for reconsideration that was subsequently dismissed by the court. Despite the injunction, LTO 7 officials posted in their offices the notice “no drug test required,” obviously in defiance of the court order.

In a three-page omnibus order, the court said: “In other words, there is no need to discuss them all over again since to do so would just be an exercise in futility.

Again, the motion for reconsideration dated May 15, 2014 filed by the defendants is hereby denied for lack of merit.

“On the other hand, in order to enforce the order dated Oct. 9, 2013--granting the writ of preliminary injunction--and the order dated May 2, 2014--directing them to comply with the order dated Oct. 9, 2013--the defendants, particularly, Honorable Arnel Tancinco, director of LTO 7 in Cebu City is hereby directed to comply therewith within three days from receipt hereof, otherwise, the court shall be constrained to issue a warrant of arrest.”

Well, what can our LTO 7 officials do? They have to comply with the order unless it is restrained or reversed by a higher court. But those who oppose the drug test have their own reason because it is an additional burden on their part, especially public utility drivers.

However, if you look at it in a positive way, a drug test is good because this will prevent more traffic accidents. Imagine how many lives were lost because of traffic accidents that were later traced to drivers who were high on drugs. What is P300 for a drug test compared to all those who died?

The Department of Health has a record of driver’s license applicants who were denied because they tested positive of illegal drugs. Drug test operators are the ones who shoulder the expense for the confirmatory test in Manila at a cost P1,000 per applicant. Imagine also the hassle for these operators for helping the government in its anti-drug campaign.

***

Public utility operators are up in arms against the joint administrative order 2014-01 of the DOTC/LTO, which imposes higher penalties for colorum vehicles and other traffic violations. Those colorum vehicles, or operating without a valid transport franchise, are fined the following rates: P1 million for buses; P200,000 for trucks and vans; P120,000 for sedans; P50,000 for jeepneys; and P6,000 for motorcycles.

We are talking about colorum vehicles, which are illegal. If they don’t want to be fined why not comply with the requirements so they can be legal.

If we allow these operators to operate colorum vehicles, what happens when these get into an accident?

Ma-thank you intawon ang kinabuhi sa mga pasahero kay illegal man. I hope our LTO officials here will crack down on colorum vehicles. I have heard that even big transport companies are operating colorum vehicles.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2014.

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