Comelec issues guidelines on poll checkpoints
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – With the election period to start on Jan. 10, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued guidelines that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) must observe when manning the poll body’s checkpoints.

The Comelec said in Resolution No. 10029 dated Dec. 22, 2015 that a checkpoint “must be well-lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel.”

The Comelec noted that upon approach to checkpoints, the team must require motorists to slow down “and courteously require to dim the headlights and turn on the cabin light.”

Comelec, however, maintained it is prohibited for lawmen to compel the occupants to step out of the vehicle during checkpoint inquiry.

Only a visual search of the vehicle is allowed at the checkpoints, Comelec said.

“The search which is normally permissible is limited to visual search where the officer simply looks into the vehicle and flashes a flashlight therein without opening the car’s door,” Comelec said.

The poll body reminded lawmen of the constitutional right that no person may be subjected to 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.

“The personnel manning the checkpoint cannot compel the motorists to open the trunk or glove compartment of the car or any package contained therein,” the Comelec added.

The Comelec also said the checkpoint may involve only a brief detention of travelers during which the vehicle occupants are required to answer brief questions.

The establishment of checkpoints is part of the implementation of the gun ban that will be in effect during the election period form Jan. 10 to June 8.

Comelec said at least one checkpoint would be put up in each city or town.

Comelec also reminded the lawmen that solicitation and extortion are prohibited in checkpoints.

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BODY CHECKPOINT CHECKPOINTS COMELEC JAN PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE RESOLUTION NO SEARCH VEHICLE
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