More checkpoints set up as gun ban takes effect
By Joel E. Zurbano | Posted on Jan. 13, 2013 at 12:01am | 38 views
The Commission on Elections issued last-minute reminders while the Philippine National Police put up checkpoints as the official election period for the May 13 mid-term polls began at midnight Saturday.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. used his Twitter micro-blog site (@ChairBrillantes) to remind the public about the start of the election period and clarify points in various Comelec resolutions while the poll body’s public information officer James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) tweeted rules on the checkpoints that began to sprung up across the nation.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, on the other hand, reminded policemen to set up and operate checkpoints in accordance with the established rules and reiterated the standard policies based on the constitutional guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.
Purisima said checkpoints should only be placed at well-lit areas with corresponding signage and policemen manning the post must be in uniform with name tags and within sight of a marked police vehicle.
According to a Department of Justice Advisory Opinion No. 1 signed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in March last year, there are 10 rules that must be observed to protect the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures (Section 2, Article III).
Checkpoint 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. Only visual search is allowed.
Do not submit to a physical or bodily search.
You are not obliged to open glove compartment, 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 cellphone at anytime. Speed dial emergency number.
Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.
Jimenez said Comelec officials were inspecting police checkpoints in Metro Manila at press time while Purisima, who heads the Secure and Fair Elections for 2013 task force, assured the public that policemen will uphold citizens’ rights even as he warned members of private armed groups.
“We will not spare all private armed groups whether they are connected to any political party or any individuals, criminal elements and terrorist elements” Purisima said. “Our sole intention here is to neutralize PAG’s for them not to create trouble and crimes during elections.”
He said there are at least 25,065 loose firearms in the country and 552,328 unrenewed firearms licenses. There are also 60 active PAG’s in the countrty while another 47 potential PAG’s are monitored being by the government.
Other police targets include gun-for-hire groups that may be tapped by unscrupulous politicians to ensure their victories in the coming elections, Purisima added.
Brillantes said a peaceful and orderly election can be achieved by the strict implementation of the gun ban and the installation of more checkpoints.
He also said the poll bodies foresees less cheating because of the precinct count optical scanning machines that will be used in tallying the votes.
“Other problems, however, such as vote buying, intimidation and terrorism cannot be addressed by the use of the vote counting machines,” he said.
The election period starts on Sunday and will end on June 12. During that time, it is prohibited to alter the territory of established precincts as well as the establishments of new precincts, to transfer government officers and employees, to carry firearms and other deadly weapons, to use personal bodyguards unless authorized by the commission. With Francisco Tuyay