Public told: Don't fear checkpoints during poll gun ban-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
AFTER law enforcers committed supposed checkpoint procedure lapses in the alleged shootout in Quezon, an Army official said the public should not be scared of police and military checkpoints to be set up during the election gun ban.
Major Harold Cabunoc, Army spokesperson, said police and military checkpoints will be established in strategic areas to implement the gun ban, which will start on January 13, Sunday.
"We should not be afraid of our law enforcers because they are required to follow legal procedures," Cabunoc said in his blog on Friday.
He cited an Advisory Opinion signed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in March 2011 that aims to "protect the public from abuses committed by law enforcers and to weed out illegal checkpoints."
The said advisory informs the public regarding the following checkpoint rules:
1. Checkpoint must be well-lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel.
2. Upon approach, slow down, dim headlights and turn on cabin lights. Never step out of the vehicle.
3. Lock all doors. Only visual search is allowed.
4. Do not submit to a physical or bodily search.
5. You are not obliged to open glove compartment, trunk or bags.
6. Ordinary/routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with answers.
7. Assert your rights, have presence of mind and do not panic.
8. Keep your driver’s license and car registration handy and within reach.
9. Be ready to use your cellphone at anytime. Speed dial emergency number.
10. Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also listed standard operating procedures for the conduct of police checkpoints that include the following:
- Policemen are limited to conducting visual inspections of vehicles;
- Policemen have to be in proper general office attire (GOA) or patrol uniforms and not combat uniforms or camouflage;
- There should be a sign indicating that it is a checkpoint, the name of the team leader, and there should be a marked police vehicle;
- Police authorities can only inspect vehicles or their drivers and passengers to get off under “extreme circumstances and when there are reasonable grounds” such as if the vehicles are suspected to be “getaway vehicles” or hot cars.
Earlier this week, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II disclosed the initial findings of the PNP fact-finding team on the Atimonan shootout last Sunday.
The initial findings showed that the policemen who were involved in the setting up of a checkpoint where the alleged encounter took place violated operational procedures.
Among these was the failure to put distinct signs in the main checkpoint and the lack of a marked police vehicle in the vicinity, according to PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima.
He said the chief of police of Atimonan was the only uniformed cop manning the post while the others, including intelligence personnel, were all in civilian clothes.
The policemen involved in the incident had been relieved from their posts.
The alleged shootout in Atimonan killed 13 suspected criminals, including three cops and two Air Force soldiers. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)