A HOUSE panel has approved a bill that seeks to conduct mandatory drug testing to all convicts, parolees, probationers and persons arrested that are suspected to be under the influence of illegal drugs.

Committee on dangerous drugs chaired by Iligan Representative Varf Belmonte approved House Bill 2777, which seeks to amend Section 36 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

ACT-CIS party-list Representative Samuel Pagdilao Jr., the bill's author, said all prisoners, parolees and probationers shall undergo random drug testing to ensure that these persons are free from the use of dangerous drugs.

"This is mandatory and once it becomes a law, they can no longer invoke human rights because it would supersede all laws contrary to the new one," Pagdilao said.

The bill has been submitted for plenary debates.

The measure also seeks to immediately place arrested individual who at the time of their arrest are suspected to be under the influence of dangerous drugs under mandatory drug testing.

Pagdilao said the passage of the bill at the committee level is a big leap as far as government's drive against drug addiction is concerned.

The former police official said the bill is founded on the fact that many crimes were committed by offenders while under the influence of illegal drugs.

The proposed measure also seeks to ensure that prisoners are denied of access to illegal drugs.

"While it is true that inmates have restricted movements, it has been repeatedly reported that drugs are smuggled in through visitors, friends and families of inmates," Pagdilao said.

Likewise, parolees and probationers who report regularly to parole or probation officers are required to undergo drug testing to ensure that they are free from the use of illegal drugs. (Sunnex)