POLICEMEN manning checkpoints were reminded anew to read the Miranda rights on persons being accosted for violation of the Omnibus Election Code or other infraction of the law.
Officials explained that they are making sure the human rights of all persons passing through checkpoints will be protected at all times even as the police steps up the crackdown against illegal firearms, partisan armed groups and criminal gangs that may be used to disrupt the holding of a secure and fair May 9 local and national elections.
The number of gun ban violators arrested by PNP agents has risen to more than 700 yesterday, more than 98 percent of them civilians found carrying firearms and other deadly weapons, a report to PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.
Citing a report from the PNP Directorate for Operations, newly-designated PNP spokesman, Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 said so far, police have also seized over 600 firearms and other deadly weapons including gun replicas, grenades, explosives, bladed weapons and assorted live ammunition.
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, said the number of gun ban violators in Metro Manila have also breached the 100 mark with more than 100 firearms and other deadly weapons seized by his men since last January 10.
According to Banac, policemen manning the checkpoints are under instructions to fully comply with the Police Operational Procedures or POP designed to ensure the protection of human rights.
The POP states that violations/infractions of the law discovered during the checkpoint operations shall be expeditiously disposed of following legal procedures. Arrested persons in particular must be apprised of their rights in reference to the Miranda Doctrine. The PNP leadership has reiterated that the reading of the Miranda Warning to a person being arrested is a required procedure in the 170,000-strong police force as part of its strict adherence to human rights.
Miranda Warning says “You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney.”
The PNP leadership also ordered all his officers and men to memorize the words contained in the Miranda Warning like the national anthem and practice it while accosting a crime offender.
Officials also emphasized that the Miranda Doctrine should be read as the situation allows since the arresting officer should secure himself and the one being arrested first before he reads the doctrine to the suspect. It means that the cop should have already restrained the suspect and is sure that he and the suspect are in safe condition or free from any other threats before reading the suspect’s rights.
The POP also states that the security of the PNP personnel, and most especially that of the civilians participating in the checkpoint operation, must be given due consideration in the planning stage of the operation.
Only the security sub-team and blocking/pursuing sub-team members are allowed to display high-powered firearms and are positioned where they can best provide security to the checkpoint team including themselves.
It also says that checkpoint personnel must not limit their task in law enforcement and crime deterrence. They should also be ready to provide police assistance in the vicinity e.g. giving directions to inquiring motorists or passersby.
The PNP operating unit must provide their own logistical and financial requirements to avoid soliciting support from the civilians for their personal or operational needs.
Police personnel assigned in the checkpoint shall not mulct. Officers assigned at the checkpoint shall be responsible for the actuations and behavior of his personnel and shall be accountable under the doctrine of command responsibility.
Voluntary offers of cash or in kinds from the traders/ motorists passing the checkpoint shall be absolutely refused because the offer might be misconstrued as a bribe.
The police and the civilian component must separately submit their After Checkpoint Operation Report to their respective units or organization for proper evaluation of the efficacy of the operation.