Observe human rights at Comelec checkpoints, PNP tells cops

The Philippine National Police (PNP) reminded police officers to observe human rights as it started putting up Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoints nationwide on Monday, August 28, to jumpstart the first day of the filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the Baranggay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in October.

A checkpoint manned by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force - National Capital Region (AFP JTF-NCR) is set up along East Avenue in Quezon City on Aug. 28, 2023 as the country enters the election period for the Baranggay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE). (Courtesy of Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

PNP Chief Police Gen. Benjamin Acorda instructed the realignment of 2,700 body-worn cameras to the cops manning the checkpoints to ensure that their operation will be monitored.

“Our Chief PNP ordered the regional directors to directly supervise the checkpoints to be led by provincial directors and chiefs of police to ensure that the cops should be in properly lit areas, they have marked vehicles, they are wearing proper uniforms, and obeying the police operational procedures,” Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan, chief of PNP public information office, said.

“Most of all, they should strictly observe human rights and be polite to the passing motorists,” he noted.

Through the checkpoints, the PNP aims to eradicate the movement of wanted persons, illegal firearms, and other contrabands.

In Brgy. Cabuco, Trece Martires, Cavite, police arrested a man who allegedly yielded a gun during a checkpoint. A Comelec gun ban is also currently in effect nationwide.

A police report shared by Maranan to reporters identified the suspect as Melquiades Quieta, 51.

He said policemen flagged down Quieta while onboard a motorcycle for an inspection around 10:45 a.m. when they confiscated from the suspect a pistol.

The suspect was brought to the Trece Martires City Police Station for documentation.

Meanwhile, Maranan said the PNP has identified 27 election hotspots or areas where poll-related violent incidents were recorded in the previous years.

He said the PNP will coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Comelec to validate each agency’s respective lists of election hotspots to determine what areas will be placed under the “red category”.

The Comelec, PNP, and AFP classify areas of concern during elections to four categories namely green, yellow, orange and red.

The highest alert is the red category which refers to areas with intense political climate which may warrant the declaration of a Comelec control. 

Green category are areas with no security concern, yellow for areas with history of election-related violence or where political rivalry are existing, and orange for areas with serious armed threats from terrorist groups or other armed groups.