Checkpoints: Don’t get out of your car!



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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  • randyaltarejos

    This advisory brings back to mind a good piece of advice from then Chief Supt. Lucas Managuelod of the CIDG, while I was covering the PNP, who said that if a suspicious vehicle bumps your vehicle’s rear at a strange circumstance, don’t ever get out of your car. You never know that it could be a ploy to inflict harm or do something bad to you. Wait and try to observe the actuations of the person/s from the suspicious vehicle. Better still, call for immediate police assistance.

  • ryan andres

    Hopefully unang binigyan ni Bart ng copy nitong memorandum na ito eh yung mga pulpulis nya… next thing you know, pag nagkaroon ng violation, we’ll get the filipino equivalent of “I didn’t get the memo” from our PNP (Palpak na Pulpulis).

  • Ommm

    And why with all these privacy rights do we have armed private security doing body searches as people leave and enter stores??

    Their searches are based on “prior constraint” and are illegal…..

    • iamnobody

      the rule on unreasonable searches and seizures will not apply to private establishments. ang bill of rights na sinasabi nyo para yan di tayo abusuhin ng gobyerno. (well, ideally). hehe

  • Roose Bolton

    Where’s the pertinent details for motorcyclists? Some checkpoints are only after motorcycle riders (especially those riding in tandem) whenever there are alerts after crimes involving the same. How can we ensure we do not become scapegoats.

  • Rex_Ranhilio

    … Assert your rights, have
    presence of mind and do not panic….

    Sana lang respetuhin tayo ng pulis sa checkpoint kapag inaasert natin ang rights natin.

  • kilabot

    tingnan natin kung alam na din ng mga pulis eto. e kung ang nakasakay sa kotse naglalaway, is that an indication of something sinister he is about to do?

  • TinimbangNgunitKulang

    Is Christopher Lao informed of this already?

  • GKLer

    Does this mean the checkpoint at the airports are violating human rights?
    How about the “checkpoint” at the SM malls, whenever you enter?

    • Matrix

      I think this is only applicable to police check points. If you do not submit to bodily search by SM security guards, you might be denied entry. Same as in the airports.

      • desperb

        Hindi ba double standard ang airport checkpoint? Ang tintingnan ng mga security guards ang mga sasakyang papasok at pinububuksan ang trunk at compartments pero public facility ang airport, hindi private tulad ng malls.

        At paano makakapasok sa tarmac ang mga saskyan kung meron man itong explosives.

        hindi ba wala sa logic ang airport checkpoint?

    • iamnobody

      checkpoints at the airports are an exception to the rule. the guarantee against reasonable searches and seizures only applies against the government, so it doesnt apply to SM. hehe. 

    • TataRamonKo

      Police checkpoints along the hi-ways/roads are more general in nature: meant to curtail criminality, limit the movement or apprehend criminals with standing warrants, to detect possible criminals, etc… But for the airports, malls and MRTs it is more specific: that is to prevent any act of terrorism and hold-ups, hence a frisking or body search for a possible hidden explosives and ammunitions.

  • Malik62

    Is this a prelude of the Revolutionary Gov that BS Aquino x3 and his KKKKKKs are planning in order to save his presidency?

    • lawrence

      you have a hyperactive imagination

  • Pio Gante

    the problem is if a motorist asserts his rights basing on that memo, it will be regarded by law enforcers as an act of disobedience thus giving them reasons to suspect that the said motorist is hiding something thereby subjecting him or her to  further delay and harassment.

    the situation is different with those riding in public utility vehicles because cops order passengers to alight then frisk their bodies and search their personal belongings.

    nowadays cops at checkpoints pay particular attention to motorcycles riders especially those with pillion riders because of the high incidence of crime involving riding in tandem motorcyclists.

    it’s a no brainer at seaports, airports, customs, gated communities, privately owned areas including malls because agents and security personnel can and will refuse entry to anybody who refuse to cooperate.

  • Rene V

    TO SERVE AND TO PROTECT. now the brass tells us that we should be wary of their own kind! HAAAY Pinas! Kailan ba tayo magbabago …

  • I_kabod

    sa totoo lang, ninenerbyos ako kapag may pulis. kapag naka-eye contact mo pa, tyak tatawagin ka at magkakaron ka ng instant violation.  madalas po ako pinapababa ng pulis kasi kelangan daw namin mag usap at mag aregluhan kesa mag seminar ako at pumila maghapon sa pag claim ng lisensya.  sana sila na mga pulis ang unang masabihan na bawal magpababa ng motorista.

  • pubringjuandelacruz

    what stated above are already enforced long time ago. if you got your license in fair means and not through fixers. Then you’ll know what to do in entering a check point or even if you unconsciously committed a road violation.

    in my experience, I never go out of my car nor let the enforcer see what’s in the trunk of my car and other compartments. 

    napagsabihan na nga ako na “that’s resisting to obey a public officer”. sinabihan ko rin… “in order for me to show the contents of my compartment you’ll need to secure a search warrant. Nasa batas ho yan. Kung hindi nyo alam ang batas mag-aral kayo” :D

  • Martin

    Easier said than done.  Do you think these cops would follow the correct procedures.  They can shoot you on the spot and claim you are confronting them. 

    • tipay

      right and better shoot them first lol

  • Clyde Villegas

    My suggestion is to put these words beside ALL checkpoint signs: “The right to privacy is guaranteed by the law.  Do not let police officers coerce you to open your windows, doors, and compartments.  Only visual check is allowed.”

    • Pepe Alas

      I agree.

    • Danny

      I AGREE . Sometimes though you know your rights but some  authorities do not know the law or your rights . They need to be reminded or learn themselves the laws and rights of the people .

    • Facile1

      Actually, there is no such thing as a right to privacy. The right being violated here is the right to due process, which is a right that is greatly misunderstood by both the citizenry and the agents of government.

  • Pepe Alas

    What are checkpoints for in the first place if searches are limited? Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the guidelines 100% I’m just wondering what these checkpoints are for. I mean, if I have the right not to have the trunk of my car to be inspected, then what’s the use? Terrorists can transport bombs easily and freely from one checkpoint to another.

    • Danny

      Checkpoints serve a lot of purposes like looking for carnapped cars and in this case there is no need  to come out of the car or open the trunk . Sometimes authorities are accused of planting evidence if they physically or bodily search the person or the car .  I would rather stay in the car .

    • PHtaxpayer

      every country uses checkpoints.  they can be used to prevent criminals from escaping after a crime like a break-in or a bank robbery.  I think in the PH checkpoints are just used to establish police presence in provincial areas where crimes at night are common.

  • magsasakasanayon

    i hope the police and the military know this advisory.

  • tipay

    better have this article copied and laminated plus add the tel. no. of the pnp spokesperson. then carry it all the time with you attached to your vehicle registration haha. there are some nincompoop police officers. ignorant of the law too..

  • Bad_wolf

    This is great! 
    Better if the PNP has a downloadable OFFICIAL document for all motorists. 
    How about those travelling via public vechicles, taxis, motorbikes or even just walking?

  • henson1010

    I agree with comments below. SANA PAALAM SA LAHAT NG POLICE AT MILITARY…..baka sila mismo hindi alam ang guidelines sa checkpoints.

  • MG

    Ang labo ng report na ito, especially the last two paragraphs. Hindi ko maintindihan ang pinagsasabi ni Cruz. Bawal ba talaga ang tint sa lahat ng marked police cars o may exceptions??? alam ba nito ng lahat ng checkpoint all over the Pinas?

  • JamesBond2

    As a suggestion, I think the advisory of Sir CS A. Cruz Jr. should be in the written in very visible billboards at the checkpoints preferably in Tagalog and English.  All police personnel manning the
    checkpoints should be trained and certified.The Congress should make the proper and clear law regarding this matter and impose the necessary sanction on violators,  police and motorists.  But the penalties should be higherfor the police since the civilian motorists are more expected to be obedient than not.Lastly, who are checking the checkpoints?

  • victor1052

    Easy for you to say. How are we suppose to tell the real police from the fakes? If we are shot at for refusing to open the door, does that mean the shooter is a real police? The problem in this country is the police also act like bandits. The head of the NBI is a kidnapper, so who can we trust?

  • Facile1

    As long as there is no real mechanism to hold an agent of government accountable, it is more adviseable to turn around and head for home if possible when one sees a checkpoint. For single women, make arrangements with male friends so you can head for their homes. It is dangerous to head home to an empty house. Always travel with all your car doors locked. Don’t travel alone (especially if you’re a woman) and try not to travel at night. If you have no choice but to go through the check point, do NOT under any circumstances leave your car. Ask your traveling companion to e-mail a friend the badge number of the officer who approaches the car. It won’t keep either of you alive, but it might help in the investigation. Tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back before you leave the house. If you are single, make arrangements with another single friend to exchange this courtesy or better yet travel with a katulong or a driver. Again, do not travel alone! Take public transpo (but not taxis or tricycles). Do not under any circumstances pull a gun or keep one in the car. By the way, these rules apply whether here or abroad. It’s amazing what people will pull when they think no one is watching.

  • Jpb

    The PNP should direct this info to their ranks.Beware of checkpoints. My advice for drivers in the Philippines is always to have a couple of bills along with their driving license and car registration, it helps a lot avoiding delays with checkpoints specially when driving in MM and provincial routes. These checkpoints and police patrols always find a type of violation, they seem to be trained in being creative(I was pulled over along a Tarlac checkpoint for not wearing shoes while driving). I never experience these driving in other countries for almost three decades(trying to bribe them will surely land you in jail).Its more fun in the Philippines though.

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