Stopped at a checkpoint? Know your rights here.


By Aris Ilagan —   11 Apr 2012

In a bid to eradicate abuses committed by police elements in the conduct of anti-crime operations, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome issued today a 10-point list of guidelines to be observed by lawmen manning checkpoints.

According to General Bartolome, the PNP will strictly abide by the instruction of the Department of Justice to implement a “no tint” or “clear window” policy among marked police vehicles in order to gain the trust and confidence of the citizenry. The move is also designed to prevent scalawags in uniform from using police cars for their illicit activities or violating traffic regulations.

The general public is thus advised on these 10 rules on military/police checkpoints:

* Checkpoint must be well-lit, 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. Only visual search is allowed.

* Do not submit to a physical or body search.

* You are not obliged to open the glove compartment, the trunk or bags.

* Ordinary/routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with answers.

* Assert your rights, have presence of mind and do not panic.

* Keep your driver’s license and car registration handy and within reach.

* Be ready to use your cell phone at any time. Save an emergency number on your speed dial.

* Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.

This public advisory guides motorists on how to deal with authorities at checkpoints. The objective is to ensure its implementation in proper searches and seizures to avoid violation of human rights. The advisory also serves as a warning to erring law enforcers. The PNP wants to eliminate illegal checkpoints.

“As the promotion of right-based policing becomes a focal point in the agenda of the PNP leadership, the conduct of police or law enforcement must be in compliance with human rights standards,” stated General Bartolome.


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