PNP begins setting up checkpoints all over PH

Published January 14, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Aaron Recuenco

With thousands of police check­points expected to be set up across the country for the May mid-term elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assured Sunday that they would just go with the “plain view doctrine” in checking private vehicles.

At the same time, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana said that motorists should also take note of the courtesy and proper attire of the policemen while conducting checkpoints.

ELECTION SEASON BEGINS – Vehicles are stopped at a checkpoint on Rizal Ave. in Manila to be inspected for guns and other deadly weapons on Sunday, the official start of the election season.  (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)
ELECTION SEASON BEGINS – Vehicles are stopped at a checkpoint on Rizal Ave. in Manila to be inspected for guns and other deadly weapons on Sunday, the official start of the election season. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Durana explained that the plain view doctrine simply means that policemen should not go beyond what they see outside and inside the vehicle while checking the cars and the motorists.

“If you are on board a vehicle, you are not required to get off your car and open your trunk,” said Durana.

“Our personnel will observe the plain view doctrine, meaning, just a visual search,” he added.

The conduct of checkpoint recently became controversial following social media posts that showed policemen allegedly planting illegal drugs at the trunk of private cars.

The vehicle where the illegal drugs were planted would then be allegedly stopped at another checkpoint based on the tip-off by the policemen who first stopped the car.

It turned out that the posts were fake news and did not happen in the Philip­pines. The PNP condemned the fake news as a desperate attempt to malign the police force amid the drug war.

But are motorists required to roll down their window when stopped at the checkpoint?

Durana said that motorists should roll down their car windows since police­men are expected to talk to the motorists to inform them about the conduct of the checkpoints.

“Maybe just a little (roll down of windows) so that the motorist and the policeman could hear each other,” said Durana.

But Durana said that the plain view doctrine also has exceptions.

“If our policemen see contraband through the plain view doctrine, that’s the time they can conduct physical search. They can even effect arrest,” said Durana.

Courteous cops

Durana also advised motorists to take note of the attitude of the policemen conducting the checkpoints, noting that the strict instruction given to the police­men is to be courteous at all times.

The official said that motorists could report the rude behavior of policemen manning the checkpoints to the PNP for investigation and eventual disciplinary measures.

“Motorists should also take note of the proper conduct of checkpoint. First, it should be conducted in a well-lighted place; and second, it should be manned by policemen in proper uniform with nameplates,” said Durana.

“The checkpoint should also be led by an officer and that there should be proper signage about the checkpoint,” he added.

In order to ensure transparency, Durana said that policemen would not mind if motorists would take videos of the entire checkpoint procedures.

“It is the right of the motorists and that will allow us also to make our opera­tions transparent,” said Durana.

But in doing so, Durana also re­minded motorists to be courteous to the policemen whom he said are just doing their job.

“The best way to pass through checkpoints seamlessly and peacefully is just to cooperate but at the same time be aware of your rights under the law,” said Durana.

The setting up of checkpoints started Sunday — the start of the 150-day election period.

Based on the memorandum issued by the PNP leadership, police command­ers are mandated to establish at least one checkpoint in each of the country’s 1600 cities and municipalities in coordi­nation with the local elections officer and military unit in the area.

As part of the security measures, the PNP will also be implementing a nationwide gun ban to deny criminal elements, particularly partisan armed groups, to roam around freely.

The gun ban implementation in­cludes suspension of the privilege to carry the licensed firearms outside residences. Only uniformed personnel, in uniform and on duty, are allowed to carry guns.

Security guards, on the other hand, are governed by some rules and re­striction when it comes to their service firearms.

Hope for the best

ROSARIO, Cavite — The opposition party is hoping for the best in the 2019 mid-term elections in terms of peace and order and results.

Senator Bam Aquino and Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano of Otso Deretso, formerly Oposisyon Koalisyon or Oppostion Coalition, both shared the view that everyone should shun violence and work for an honest, orderly and peaceful election (HOPE) come May 13, 2019 and let the best candi­dates be voted and placed in positions.

Aquino and Alejano are senatorial bets of Vice President Leni Robredo-backed Otso Diretso, the opposition group, along with former Senator Mar Roxas, De La Salle University Law Dean Chel Diokno, Former Bangsamoro Transition Commission Member Samira Gutoc, Former Solicitor General Pilo Hilbay, election officer Romulo Macalin­tal, and Former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tanada.

The opposition senatorial group inter­acted with local officials of Rosario, Cavite, including barangay officers, on Saturday, January 12, at La Isla Bonita, a sprawling resort in Barangay Marseilla and various sector members at the nearby Rosario Elementary School compound. (With a report from Anthony Giron)