MURCIA Mayor Andrew Montelibano announced Tuesday that he tested negative for illegal drugs, but 10 employees of the Municipal Government were found positive in the drug test conducted by Delta Heritage Drug Testing Center on 268 municipal officials and employees last May 29.

Montelibano refused to divulge the identities of the 10 employees as the urine samples taken from them were submitted to the Department of Health (DOH) in Manila for further confirmation.

Of the 10, one is a female while nine are males. Two of the employees were using marijuana while eight consumed shabu.

Murcia mayor tests negative
BACOLOD. Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano shows the negative result of his drug test during a press conference on Tuesday. (Carla N. Canet)

“No one among the elected public officials was tested positive for illegal drugs,” Montelibano said.

He added that they will determine what sanctions will be imposed on the employees after they receive the DOH confirmation.

Montelibano said the drug test was conducted as part of their commitment to the campaign against illegal drugs relative to the challenge of the two parish priests of the Immaculate Conception Parish that municipal officials should act on the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the town.

"This shows that we don't spare anyone in our advocacy against illegal drugs. Those who are found guilty will suffer the consequences," the Murcia mayor said.

Meanwhile, Montelibano responded to the announcement of Fr. Greg Patiño that he and other municipal officials except for Vice Mayor Gerardo Rojas are banned from receiving any sacrament at the Immaculate Conception Parish.

The seven sacraments include Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.

“Who is Fr. Greg Patiño to ban us from receiving the sacraments? He has no right to impose the ban against us. It has to come from the Pope or the bishop,” Montelibano said.

He said he will continue to hear mass at the church and that Municipal Council members who are Catholics will also continue to attend mass.

"The priest's action is against the church and backfires on the church," Montelibano said, clarifying that he is loyal to the Catholic Church and he won't go against it only that they have a problem with the priests.

He questioned why Fr. Patiño spared Rojas from the ban. The priest earlier said that it is because the vice mayor is not a parishioner since he stays in Bacolod.

"They could be scared to include the vice mayor because his father donated for the roofing of the covered court at the church compound," Montelibano revealed.

Last week, the Municipal Council passed a resolution asking Bishop Vicente Navarra of the Diocese of Bacolod to replace Fr. Patiño and his assistant Fr. Agustin Hinayan.

Montelibano also said he was not surprised by the letter of support to the priests of nine pastors belonging to the Murcia Interdenominational Ministers Forum because they were supporters of his opponents in the last election.