PNP urges public: Slow down at election checkpoints, but be vigilant
Expect to see several checkpoints in all parts of the country starting January 10, marking the start of the election period until June 8.
The Philippine National Police and the Commission on Elections will start putting up at least one checkpoint in every city, town and municipality nationwide.
But PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the public should always be vigilant, urging them to take videos or photos if they notice anything unusual in a checkpoint.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Mayor enumerated the requirements of a checkpoint established by PNP and Comelec.
Mayor said based on the operational procedures of the PNP, an election checkpoint should:
- Be in a well-lit area supervised by a police officer, preferably of Inspector rank;
- Have a parked vehicle with Comelec markings;
- Have a signage indicating the checkpoint is set up by Comelec and PNP, including the name of the Comelec officer and the team leader from PNP; and
- Have officers whose nameplates could easily be seen.
“We encourage the public—we have cameras on our phones. We can take videos so that we can correct whatever defects we have on the ground at the same time sanction the officers for not conforming to the operational procedures,” said Mayor.
Mayor also asked for the cooperation of motorists by slowing down and switching on the light inside their cars when they are being flagged down for checkpoint.
“As much as possible, please slow down. Bagalan natin ang ating takbo (Slow down), then once you approach checkpoints, may officers na magtatanong sa inyo, kung pwede lang buksan niyo ang ilaw (officers will be asking you to switch on the light) when it’s nighttime at buksan po ang bintana para makita ang loob ng sasakyan (and roll down the window so that they will see what’s inside the vehicle),” he said.
But the police official stressed that officers in election checkpoints are only allowed to do a visual search, except if a particular vehicle is a subject of a law enforcement operation.
“The checkpoint is only a visual search—that means hindi kayo pwedeng i-compel na buksan ang kotse niyo o buksan ang truck niyo (you cannot be compelled to open the doors to your car or to open the trunk). Again there are exceptions, if there’s an ongoing law enforcement operation na may (where there is) probable cause to search a vehicle, but generally speaking, visual search lang (only),” he said. CDG
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