Senate to probe drug use by soldiers

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday said she will direct the proper Senate committee to conduct an investigation into the alleged drug use by personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The AFP reported last week that 113 personnel were found positive of drug use during last year's nationwide random drug-testing.

Santiago said it is important to know why these things are happening and what should be done about this, as she noted that the AFP is the protector of the people and the country and its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

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"The State needs to enhance further the efficacy of the law against dangerous drugs, it being one of today's more serious social ills," she said.

Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, AFP public affairs office chief, said the 113 were among the 20,000 personnel subjected to random drug checks in the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy.

Task Force Moses, the AFP's anti-drug body, conducted random drug tests nationwide to get rid of drug users in the military ranks.

Zagala said 70 of those who failed the drug checks came from the Army, 18 from the Navy, 13 from personnel assigned at the AFP general headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo and those at unified commands and the AFP-wide service support units (WSSUs); and 12 from the Air Force.

He added that while those who failed the drug tests will be accorded due process as some may have taken prescription medicine prior to the conduct of the surprise drug tests.

He said that while the PAF, the unified commands and WSSUs have consistently registered low rates of illegal drug use, the number of drug users in the Army and Navy, particularly the Marines, is on the rise.

Santiago said there is a need for the Senate and concerned government agencies to look into the actions taken by the AFP to ensure the safety of the citizenry. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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