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Checkpoints: Don’t get out of your car!


03:32 AM April 13th, 2012

By: DJ Yap, April 13th, 2012 03:32 AM

Know your rights and don’t do anything crazy when you are approaching a police or military checkpoint: Never get out of the car. Do not submit to a body search. And you may refuse to open your trunk or glove compartment.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday issued guidelines for proper conduct at checkpoints for policemen as part of what it called “rights-based policing.”

“This public advisory guides motorists on how to deal with authorities at checkpoints and ensure its implementation on proper searches and seizures to avoid violations of human rights,” Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., PNP spokesperson, said in a press statement.

Cruz said the advisory should also serve as a warning to erring policemen and encourage the elimination of illegal checkpoints.

“As the promotion of rights-based policing becomes a focal point on the agenda of the PNP leadership, the conduct of police or law enforcement must be in compliance with human rights standard,” Director General Nicanor Bartolome, the PNP chief, said.

The advisory follows:

“The checkpoint must be well lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel. Upon approach, slow down, dim headlights and turn on cabin lights. Never step out of the vehicle. Lock all doors. Only visual search is allowed. Do not submit to a physical or body search. You are not obliged to open glove compartment, trunk 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 your driver’s license and car registration handy and within reach. Be ready to use your cell phone at anytime. Speed-dial emergency number. Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.”

The PNP, Cruz said, now also has a “no tint” or “clear window” policy for marked police vehicles and similar official vehicles to boost public confidence in the police.

The policy “promotes accountability in governance and may also place an inherent check on scalawags,” Cruz said.

He explained: “The use of dark or heavy tints is helpful, and even necessary, in case of surveillance and other similar law enforcement operations. But for other purposes, tints are used for marked vehicles which are readily identifiable and cannot reasonably be used for legitimate covert work.”

Tinting, Cruz said, gives some people a sense of impunity that makes them violate even the simplest of laws, such as traffic rules.

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