No more drug tests to get driver's license
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - June 16, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  A drug test is no longer required when one applies for or renews a driver's license.

This was the ruling of the Court of Appeals 19th Division after it reversed and set aside the decision of a Regional Trial Court.

The RTC enjoined the Land Transportation Office and the Department of Transportation and Communications to comply with the mandatory drug testing, a requirement under Section 36 (a) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

"Hence, because the assailed RTC orders were issued with grave abuse of discretion and are therefore void, all acts emanating from them have no force or effect. The writ of preliminary injunction issued in favor of private respondents, which eventually became permanent in the assailed decision, has no legal effect," read Associate Justice Louis Acosta's decision.

The LTO represented by former assistant secretary Alfonso Tan Jr. filed a petition for review before the CA.

Tan claimed that Toledo City, Cebu RTC Judge Hermes Montero acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when the latter granted Dulcisimo Tuldanes prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction.

Tuldanes, a resident of Toledo City, filed a declaration of nullity of a memorandum dated June 27, 2013 issued by former DOTC assistant secretary Virginia Torres, in her capacity as LTO chief, implementing RA 10586, which repeals Section 36 (a) of RA 9165.

RA 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 revokes the requirement of mandatory drug testing for the issuance or renewal of driver's license.

Tuldanes also filed a civil case of prohibition and a mandamus with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction against Torres and other Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and LTO officials before RTC Branch 59.

Montero granted Tuldanes's petition on October 9, 2013 and issued an injunction, thus the drug test was restored.

The RTC judge ordered for the re-imposition of the drug test on all driver's license applicants

Despite the law abolishing the drug test as a pre-requisite in getting a driver's license, LTO-7 implemented it again to comply with the order of Montero.

The drug test costs more than P200.

But Acosta reversed Montero's decision, citing Section 19 of RA 10586, which was signed into law on May 27, 2013 by former president Benigno Aquino III.

"A law that has been expressly repealed ceases to exist and becomes inoperative from the moment the repealing law becomes effective. To our mind, the RTC gravely abused it's discretion when it issued the writ of preliminary injunction, and thereafter made it permanent, based on a provision of law that had already been expressly repealed," the associate justice said.—  KBQ (FREEMAN)

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