Mayors face admin complaints over lack of anti-drug councils

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) filed on Wednesday, March 20, administrative complaints against 25 city mayors for not establishing their respective anti-drug abuse councils (ADAC).

The latest set of complaints add to the 20 filed on March 14, bringing the total count to 45.

DILG Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri filed the complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday. Echiverri told reporters they were the first batch out of the 80 mayors against whom they would file similar complaints for “zero functionality” of their ADACS.

Echiverrri added that 800 more will face the same complaints for “low functionality of ADACs.” This number will include the 46 politicians whom President Rodrigo Duterte labeled as narco-politicians in a speech on March 14.

The 46 are facing administrative complaints of grave misconduct before the Office of the Ombudsman.

At the Ombudsman's office on Wednesday, however, DILG representatives were able to provide reporters with the names of only 6 mayors. Rappler will update this report with the complete list of mayors named in the complaints. 

What's the offense? The mayors are being accused of misconduct and dereliction of duty. Both are offenses under Section 60, or grounds for disciplinary action, under the Local Government Code.

This is for not creating ADACs in their respective areas – a DILG requirement. Local officials are under the supervision of the DILG.

On May 21, 2018, the DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board issued a circular “enjoining all local government units (LGUs) to activate, strengthen, and ensure the functionality of the local ADACs.”

The DILG still found that some cities were still “without an organized and functional ADAC.”

“Time and time again, the DILG issued several memorandum circulars to remind and direct the respective local government units to comply,” said the complaint.

The DILG accused the mayors of committing “an administrative offense by their deliberate refusal to create the local ADAC. Had it been that the respondent intended to comply, he can easily organize the local ADAC, but failed to do so.”

Echiverri said they followed 3 standards for basis whether a mayor complied or not: 1.) Forming the ADAC and assigning members; 2.) Allotting budget; 3.) Drawing up a plan.

The batch of 80 mayors were found not to have done any of the 3, while the other 800 are categorized under “low functionality” or without full compliance. 

“The Philippine government has been in constant war against illegal drugs. Municipalities are mandated to lead the fight against illegal drugs through their programs seeking to reach each and every citizens within their jurisdiction,” said the DILG.

What is the ADAC? The ADAC, particularly the barangay-level BADAC, is considered the first line of defense to combat illegal drugs. Through the years, the DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) have reinforced the powers of the BADAC to make it more efficient.

In President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign, BADAC officials conduct house-to-house drug tests and other forms of surveillance, the legality of which has been questioned before the Quezon City court.

Residents who test positive through drug kits are told to report to their BADAC, for rehabilitation.

The BADAC also provides the list of residents linked to drugs, a practice which human rights lawyers are seeking to stop in a petition pending before the Supreme Court. Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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