More PNP checkpoint guidelines to ensure protection of human rights

February 07, 2019

HERE are the procedures in the conduct of regular checkpoint and hasty checkpoints all aimed at checking criminality and arresting the flow of unauthorized weapons in the streets during the election period.

Bear in mind that Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has ordered his men to strictly see to it that all Police Operational Procedures or POP designed to protect human rights will be strictly observed.

Gen. Albayalde likewise maintained that all measures are already in place to protect the human rights of all persons passing through checkpoints that have mushroomed in the country to arrest the presence of illegal firearms, partisan armed groups and criminal gangs that may be used to disrupt the holding of a secure and fair May 13 national and local elections.

Citing a report from the PNP Directorate for Operations, PNP spokesman, Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac said that so far, police have also seized over 1,000 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 almost the same number of firearms and other deadly weapons confiscated from the suspects.

The confiscation of illegal guns and other deadly weapons prompted Eleazar to say that they have effectively prevented the possibility that these illegal weapons could be used as a tool to commit violence on the streets during the election period.

Gen. Albayalde said there will be a no let-up drive to account for these unauthorized weapons that could be used to commit violence during the election period.

Persons arrested for violating the gun ban especially  law enforcers face penalties such as not less than one year to six years imprisonment, dishonorable discharge from the service and forfeiture of all retirement privileges and benefits. Government employees will also be disqualified from holding any public office once caught for violating the ban which will end on June 8, the PNP leadership said.

However, officials reminded the police and the public that there is the so-called Police Operational Procedures or POP approved by the PNP leadership in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights to underscore a very vital function and purpose of law enforcement which is to protect human rights.

Police nationwide have been told to strictly follow procedures in the conduct of regular checkpoints.

As stipulated in the POP, unit commanders should inform Higher Headquarters (HHQs) Tactical Operations Center and coordinate with adjacent units such as Municipal Police Stations, City Police Stations, National Support units, Public Safety Management Forces and other friendly forces, personally or through an official representative, before commencing with the checkpoint to avoid misencounter and any untoward incident.

The Team Leaders or TL shall brief the PNP personnel, as well as the civilian components present, including the media regarding the proper conduct of the checkpoint and their assigned tasks prior to their deployment.

The TL shall initially account for the PNP personnel and check if they are in prescribed uniform. PNP personnel conducting the checkpoint shall display their nameplates at all times. If wearing a jacket, the flap of the jacket bearing their names should also be displayed. Likewise, the equipment will include, but not limited to the following: Marked Patrol vehicles; firearms with basic load of ammunition, handheld and vehicle base radios, flashlights, megaphone and signage and warning signs e.g. Slowdown, Checkpoint Ahead, Checkpoint 20 Meters Ahead and information signs such as name of the unit and Team Leader.

The Spotter of the team will be pre-positioned in a place where he can best point/profile suspected vehicles prior to their approach to the checkpoint.

Search/arresting Sub-Team shall flag down suspected vehicles and conduct search/seizure if necessary. Arrested persons and seized items shall be turned over other investigation sub-team for documentation and proper disposition.

In the event the checkpoint is ignored, and the occupants of the vehicle open fire on the personnel manning the checkpoint, reasonable force to overcome the suspect’s aggression may be employed.

Police are also required to inform higher Headquarters before terminating the conduct of Checkpoint with the Team Leader tasked to conduct a debriefing of personnel after termination of the Checkpoint and submit an After Activity Report to Higher Headquarters.

Procedure in the conduct of hasty checkpoints

PNP personnel conducting mobile patrols on board patrol vehicles will initially man the checkpoint, to be complemented by additional personnel upon arrival of reinforcement, the POP says. A collapsible signage with markings: ‘Stop, Police Checkpoint; indicating the name of the concerned police office/unit conducting the operations, will be used for the purpose.

In the case of PNP personnel conducting Internal Security Operation (ISO) or foot patrol, where a vehicle and collapsible signage is not readily available, the checkpoint shall be manned initially by said personnel

The team shall immediately inform Higher Headquarters of the exact location of the Hasty checkpoint to include personnel involved and available equipment.

In a hasty checkpoint where there is a possibility of high-risk stop and high-risk arrest and that there is an urgency for troop deployment and that public safety might be at risk, the participation of the civilian component and the presence of the media in the checkpoint operations shall not be allowed.

The Unit Commander of the personnel manning the hasty checkpoint shall immediately send additional personnel, equipment and signage to the area in order to convert the Hasty checkpoint into a Regular Checkpoint; and

As soon as the Hasty Checkpoint is converted into a Regular Checkpoint, the Team Leader shall follow all required police procedures.