Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec), military and police to ensure that checkpoints will not be used to abuse motorists as the commission started implementing the election gun ban.
Marcos on Monday said safety precautions have to be put in place so that ordinary citizens will not fall victims to unscrupulous law enforcement officers.
“We had received many complaints in the past of abuses in the checkpoints especially during the election period. While it is a necessary exercise to ensure peaceful elections, it should not be used for abuses to be committed,” he pointed out.
The Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police had reportedly set up more checkpoints across the country as the 120-day election period and gun ban started on January 10. It will be lifted on June 8, 2016.
Marcos said it is important for law enforcement personnel manning the checkpoints to know their limitations when enforcing the law and for motorists to know their rights when going through checkpoints.
Based on Comelec Resolution 10029 or the Guidelines on the Establishment of Checkpoints, motorists are not obliged to get out of their vehicles or be subjected to body or physical search in the absence of any reasonable ground that a crime has been committed or being committed.
Marcos said motorists are also not required to open their vehicle’s glove compartment, trunk or bags.
“Only a visual search of the vehicle may be done and the car’s doors may not be opened. Those manning the checkpoints may not compel motorists to open their car’s glove compartment, trunk or bags,” the senator added.
Marcos reminded motorists that all Comelec checkpoints should be well-lighted, properly identified and manned with uniformed personnel.
“When passing through a checkpoint, motorists should be able to clearly see that it is a
Comelec checkpoint where personnel from the police and the Armed Forces are in their proper uniform, with their identification tags clearly visible. Otherwise, they should report the circumstance immediately to the proper authorities,” he said.
“These checkpoints are necessary and our motorists should submit themselves to [them]but they should also know their rights and assert them whenever possible. For our law enforcers who will be manning these checkpoints, please be courteous and observe the rules at all times. Let us all follow rules,” Marcos added.