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160 without IDs held in Davao City

/ 04:20 AM May 26, 2017
CHECKPOINT Soldiers frisk aMuslim man at a checkpoint near Marawi City. Authorities have been verifying the identities of people in key cities in Mindanao after President Duterte proclaimed martial law on the island in thewake of clashes between government security forces and terrorists linked to the Islamic State group. —BULLITMARQUEZ/AP

CHECKPOINT Soldiers frisk a Muslim man at a checkpoint near Marawi City. Authorities have been verifying the identities of people in key cities in Mindanao after President Duterte proclaimed martial law on the island in thewake of clashes between government security forces and terrorists linked to the Islamic State group. —BULLIT MARQUEZ/AP

Some 160 people were arrested on Thursday morning in two communities in Davao City for failing to present “valid” identification cards, as checkpoints mushroomed in President Duterte’s hometown. They were later released after proper documentation.

In Cotabato City, the government has started implementing a “no ID, no entry” policy “to ensure that no intruders will be able to penetrate and disturb the residents (at the barangay level),” Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said in a statement.

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Rule of law

Amid the stepped-up security measures, the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police assured the public that authorities would respect basic human rights and follow the rule of law after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.

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In a memorandum on Wednesday, Defense Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario said martial law did not suspend the Constitution and the rule of law “should prevail” in Mindanao.

“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and all bureaus and agencies of this department are hereby enjoined that the rule of law and human rights should prevail in the place or part of the Philippines where martial law was declared,” Del Rosario said.

He said martial law did not supplement “the functioning of the Philippine judicial and legislative assemblies,” and that it also did not give military courts jurisdiction over civilians.

“Any arrest, search and seizure executed or implemented in the area or place where martial law is effective, including the filing of charges, should comply with the Revised Rules of Court and applicable jurisdiction,” Del Rosario said.

Do’s and don’ts 

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Chief Insp. Jose Najera of the PNP Legal Service said rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution would be strictly followed when policemen made arrests or searches.

Najera presented a draft list of “do’s and don’ts under martial law” to be sent to all police commanders across the country.

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“The rights accorded citizens or the rights enshrined in the Constitution are still operative. There are no changes when making warrantless searches and (arrests),” he said.

Quoting the PNP list of do’s and don’ts, Najera said the police and the military could not make warrantless arrests outside the circumstances listed under the Rules of Court.

“All PNP personnel shall at all times respect the human rights and dignity of the suspect,” Najera said.

He said the PNP should continue to follow Republic Act No. 7438, or the law on the rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation, and the Antitorture Law of 2009.

3 days of detention

“No arrested person should be charged beyond the period of three days. After (three days), the detained person shall be released,”  Najera said.

He said civilians could not be tried in military courts while civil courts and legislative assemblies continue to function.

Najera said martial law also “does not impair the right to bail.”

Nothing to fear

“There is nothing to fear for the issuance of martial law in Mindanao. The objective and goal is for the benefit of people in Mindanao, particularly Marawi,” said the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos.

“As you can see, our  guidelines to our forces is not to abuse the rights of the citizenry,” he said.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said the Bill of Rights could not be set aside under martial law.

Even with the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the rule on warrantless arrests still apply, Drilon said in a statement

In Cotabato City, every motorist is required to log in at checkpoints and to present valid IDs after reports that some inmates of Marawi City jail were rescued by the Maute group. Some of the inmates were Maute members who were from the city.

In Cagayan de Oro City, it was business as usual, although more policemen could be seen outside shopping malls and business establishments.

In Tagum City, Davao del Norte province, policemen manning checkpoints have become more strict in inspecting vehicles and pieces of baggage.

Entering Davao City has become more difficult, as policemen manning checkpoints closely examine passengers and vehicles.

Just another ordinary day. Locals pause for selfie shots at an armored personnel carrier manned by the Task Force Davao and positioned right outside the City Hall. Photo by Joselle R. Badilla

Just another ordinary day. Locals pause for selfie shots at an armored personnel carrier manned by the Task Force Davao and positioned right outside the City Hall. Photo by Joselle R. Badilla

Tank at Davao City Hall

A tank was stationed at City Hall, becoming an instant favorite background for people who took photos with soldiers.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said checkpoints were expected to mushroom in the city.

“Ensure that you have updated vehicle registration papers and drivers’ licenses. Ensure that you have valid and existing licenses for your personal guns. You cooperate with the AFP and the PNP in the conduct of checkpoints,” she said.

She also advised individuals to “always bring valid IDs.” —WITH REPORTS FROM ALLAN NAWAL, EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ, FRINSTON LIM AND JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE

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TAGS: Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, Eduardo del Rosario, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law
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