VICE Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, cried harassment after she was subjected to a police checkpoint on Tuesday night, December 19.
Garcia-Yulo and her husband were flagged down by the police at Crossing Magallon in Moises Padilla past 6 p.m.
Garcia-Yulo, in a phone interview with SunStar Bacolod, accused the town police led by Chief Inspector Allan Reloj of manhandling her.
She said the police dragged her out of their pick-up truck and took her bag.
She refused to submit her bag, but still they took it, she added.
The vice mayor said she tried to take a video of the incident, but her camera was confiscated as well.
Garcia-Yulo said they were on their way to Bacolod City when they passed the police checkpoint. She said they complied with the procedure.
“We opened our car windows, and tuned on the lights. I understand their procedure. I also introduced myself as the vice mayor,” she said, adding the police forcibly entered their vehicle.
She said their car was not locked, and the police opened the driver’s side and took the key.
“He wanted us to disembark, but we insisted that the checkpoint should be in plain view,” the vice mayor said. “We asked him what he is charging us, he didn’t say a word, but insisted we should get out of the vehicle because it’s a checkpoint.”
The vice mayor called the incident a “political harassment.”
She said Reloj is facing charges for abuse of authority and planting of evidence such as drugs and firearms that were filed by her people.
Garcia-Yulo also said they slashed the budget for the police in their 2018 annual budget.
The vice mayor and her husband are at the town police station as this posting.
Yulo said she will file harassment charges against the police.
SunStar called Reloj on his mobile for comment, but he could not be reached.
Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Castil Jr., director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said he sent a unit, the Provincial Mobile Force, to investigate the case and secure the town.
He said he has yet to see the full incident report, although he received initial information through text message from his men that grenade and drugs were recovered from the vehicle.
“This is still for confirmation. I have yet to see the blotter report,” Castil said.
He said the vice mayor also followed the protocol during the checkpoint, according to bystanders.
Castil said Reloj will be held liable if he committed violations during the checkpoint operation.
Based on the Philippine National Police manual, here are the guidelines during checkpoint: it must be well-lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel; upon approach, slow down, dim headlights and turn on cabin lights; never step out of the vehicle; lock all doors of vehicles during inspection since only visual search is allowed; Never submit to physical and body search; motorists are not required to open their glove compartment, trunk or bags; be courteous but firm in answering, assert your rights, have a presence of mind and do not panic; keep your driver’s license and car registration handy; be ready to use your mobile phones at any time, speed dial emergency numbers; and report violations immediately.
In some rare instances, the police are authorized to conduct a thorough search of you and your vehicle if they have search warrant for you and your vehicle; they see suspicious objects or markings on you or your vehicle such as weapons, illegal drugs or substances, broken glasses/window and other contraband that makes you or your car suspicious; and the police officers conducting the checkpoint have been alarmed that you and your vehicle had been involved in a crime.