By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MANGALDAN – Two lawmakers here have been scored by the lady mayor for refusing to submit themselves to a drug test.
DUCKING DADS. Members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mangaldan, Pangasinan like Councilors Joseph Emmanuel Cera and Joselito Quinto (second and third from left) during their inauguration as elective officials at the plaza of the burgeoning town.
Mayor Bona Fe D. Parayno assailed last Monday Sangguniang Bayan (Council) members Joseph Emmanuel Cera and Jojo Quinto for turning down to give their urine in a surprised drug test initiated by the mayor while the Council was in session.
“So kayo na ang lang po sa media kayo na ang bahala diyan, okay? Kasi sa akin ay I submitted myself at kung ano ang mga questions sa mga iyan,” she referred to Cera and Quinto in a press conference she called at her office before the start of the drug test among the workers of the local government unit (LGU) here.
The mayor, in cooperation with the crime laboratory of the police provincial office based in Lingayen town, subjected all employees of the LGU and the members of the Council where the vice mayor, lawyer Pedro Surdilla, is the mayor’s tandem in the May 9 election and her present political ally now.
Earlier, the mayor hit her critics who accused her as drug lord.
“I’ll first submit myself for a drug test to get rid on those baseless speculations that I am into drugs,” declared by this Central Pangasinan town mayor after her opponents in social and local media accused her to be a drug lord.
Cera, a lawyer, said he manifested his refusal to personnel of the crime laboratory that he would not be subjecting himself for the test because it was a violation of his right to privacy.
When asked that he and Quinto’s refusal would be misconstrued by the public that they have been taking drugs, Cera says:
“That’s a possibility the apprehension they might misconstrue that I’m taking drugs, but I’m not. I’m taking a stance against these people who would just subject for any form of drug testing”.
He showed Northern Watch a document that he had been in good health and found negative of the residue of illegal drugs in his system.
He said his executive check-up was done at the Specialist Group Hospital & Trauma Center in Dagupan City.
“I don’t trust the police officer,” in reference to Superintendent Jackie Candelario who brought the drug testers from the provincial police office.
Candelario and Cera had an altercation in December 3, 2014 when the former was the chief of police here when he ordered his men to forcibly dragged Quinto, then a village chief of Barangay Poblacion here, from his office and detained him at the police jail here.
Cera was Quinto’s lawyer on the cases of usurpation of authority or official functions, assault against persons in authority, and resistance and disobedience to a person in authority filed by Mayor Parayno and the police against Quinto and Village Councilwoman Melinda Morillo.
The lawyer also cited a Supreme Court decision that drug testing arbitrarily subjected by the Commission on Election to elective officials who filled their certificate of candidacy (COC) during the 2010 election was unconstitutional.