With the election period to start tomorrow, the Philippine National Police yesterday released a list of guidelines for the conduct of checkpoints, while also soliciting the cooperation of the public.
Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, regional police director of Western Visayas, also reminded PNP members to strictly observe standard operating procedures in the conduct of checkpoints, and encouraged the public to report any misbehavior of law enforcers .
On the same day, the police will enforce the Comelec gun ban, that aims to reduce election-related violence in the May 13 elections.
Policemen are limited to conducting visual inspections of vehicles;
Checkpoints must be well-lighted, properly identified, and policemen have to be in proper general office attire (GOA) or patrol uniforms, and not combat uniforms or camouflage;
There should be a sign indicating that it is a checkpoint, the name of the team leader, and there should be a marked police vehicle in the area;
Upon approach, motorists must slow down, dim headlights, and turn on cabin lights. Never step out of the vehicle;
Do not submit to a physical or body search;
Motorists are not obliged to open glove compartments, trunks or bags;
Ordinary/routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with answers;
Assert your rights, have presence of mind and do not panic;
Keep driver's license and car registration handy and within reach;
Be ready to use your cellphone at anytime. Speed Dial emergency number and report violations immediately.
Policemen can only inspect vehicles or their drivers and passengers and ask them to get off under “extreme circumstances and when there are reasonable grounds” such as when, the vehicles are suspected to be “getaway vehicles” or hot cars. * GPB
Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distrito also reminded the police and other law enforcers to comply with the provisions of City Ordinance 547, series of 2011 with the implementation of the gun ban period starting tomorrow.
C.O. 547, authored by Distrito, requires the posting of the ten checkpoint rules outlined in the Advisory Opinion No. 1 of the Department of Justice.
He said law enforcers should follow the ordinance by posting a copy of it in a place visibleto all motorists, or they could be charged for its violation.
Distrito said the ordinance explicitly provides that, during the conduct of the inspection in legitimate checkpoints, the10 rules should be observed by the citizens and by the uniformed peace-keeping officers in accordance with the DOJ advisory opinion No. 1 released last March 24, 2011.*CGS