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Dos and don’ts in Comelec checkpoints


By Analou De Vera

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued guidelines for the implementation of the poll body’s checkpoints in preparation for the conduct of the midterm elections next year.

Police officers man a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint on University Avenue in Quezon City, Sunday, when the gun ban for the upcoming barangay elections started. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

Police officers man a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint on University Avenue in Quezon City. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The checkpoints, based on Comelec Resolution No. 10468, must be:

1. Well-lighted
2. Properly identified
3. Manned with uniformed personnel

Uniformed members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are tasked to man the checkpoints.

The poll body said that upon approaching the checkpoints, motorists must:

1. Slow down
2. Dim vehicle headlights
3. Turn on the cabin lights

Only visual search

Under the guidelines, the Comelec prohibits any checkpoint personnel from compelling occupants to step out of the vehicle during the checkpoint inquiry.
“Only visual search is required. The search which is normally permissible is limited to visual search where the officer simply looks into the vehicle and flashes a light therein without opening the car’s door,” the poll body stated.

No body search

The Comelec also reminds lawmen that no person may be subjected to a physical or body search in the absence of any reasonable ground “to believe that a person has just committed, is about to commit, or is committing a crime.”

No opening of trunks

“The personnel manning the checkpoint cannot compel the motorist to open the trunk or glove compartment of the car or any package contained therein,” it said.
The poll body also noted that the “checkpoint may involve only a brief detention of travelers during which the vehicle’s occupants are required to answer a brief question or two.”

No solicitation, extortion

The Comelec also reminded the lawmen that they are not allowed to solicit or extort money from individuals passing through the checkpoints “nor accept voluntary offer of cash or gifts of whatever kind.”
The checkpoints are being set up for the enforcement of gun ban during the election period. The election period starts from January 13, 2019 until June 12, 2019.

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