ALMOST 200 employees in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) underwent a surprise drug testing on Thursday morning.

According to Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Benjamin Delos Santos, 196 NBP officers underwent a surprise mandatory drug test during their orientation meeting earlier in the day.

Delos Santos said he ordered the drug testing on NBP personnel, including jail guards, in support to President Rodrigo Duterte's all out battle against illegal drugs.

"We did these tests to manifest our support for our President's War on Drugs," Delos Santos said.

The BuCor chief added that he will not allow the NBP employees who are tasked to watch over detainees inside the national penitentiary "to be tainted."

"We cannot allow our guards to be as tainted as some of the ones they are guarding," he added.

Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre II has lauded the efforts of the newly-installed BuCor chief to cleanse his ranks.

"The DOJ lauds and fully supports the BuCor and Director Delos Santos in this initiative. As I have said, our War on Drugs will not distinguish between friend or foe, or in this case, the guard and the guarded," Aguirre said.

The drug testing was conducted weeks after former Bucor deputy director for operations Rolando Asuncion tendered his resignation, following an order of the DOJ chief to investigate him for his supposed involvement in illegal drug activities of the Muntinlupa police.

Asuncion denied the allegations against him but opted to resign, claiming that rifts between the Justice Secretary and the BuCor chief may arise during the conduct of the probe against him.

The Justice Secretary in previous interviews said there is no pending probe against Asuncion. (SunStar Philippines)