Gov’t warms to more mobile checkpoints, to phase out road blocks
MANILA — Malacañang has warmed up to Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s suggestion that mobile checkpoints be maintained even after President Duterte ordered the dismantling of security checkpoints nationwide.
“We welcome this suggestion of… Lacson as we find better means on how to thwart possible threats of violence without causing undue inconvenience to the public,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
He clarified that Mr. Duterte wanted to remove fixed road security blockades set up by the police and military as part of their law enforcement operations.
Andanar said the suggestion of Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, to set up mobile checkpoints would mean “more policemen conducting mobile patrol duties or policemen inside their patrol cars plying around an area.”
“This is different from the fixed (road) checkpoints where policemen are in one area asking motorists to stop,” he said.
In his visit to Cotabato City on Saturday, Mr. Duterte said he was not pleased with the unnecessary inconvenience that security checkpoints had been causing to motorists and ordered a halt to the practice.
He issued the directive only a day after Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, and nine of his men were killed in a supposed gunfight with the police in a security checkpoint in Makilala, North Cotabato province.
“Only if it is necessary, only if there is specific reason to do it, I am ordering all checkpoints dismantled,” the President said, adding:
“And that is for the entire country. I do not want these checkpoints.”
In response to the President’s order, Lacson said mobile checkpoints were proven to be more effective in anticrime operations by the police.
The senator said fixed checkpoints had also become a milking cow of sorts for abusive and mulcting policemen preying on innocent motorists and traders.
“Mobile checkpoints are more effective since they are not expected by those who transport illegal drugs, firearms and other contrabands,” Lacson said, describing checkpoints as “breeding place for extorting policemen.” The President said even rebel groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front and the communist New People’s Army had been using checkpoints.
“If there’s a suspect or you know there’s a probability or A1 information, (then you can set up a checkpoint),” he said. “But if you’re not sure, then don’t do it.”
“To the MILF, if you don’t have any purpose, don’t use checkpoints. It’s also the same with the MNLF… It only brings problems to the Filipinos,” said Mr. Duterte. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.