THE Commission on Elections in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will start a six-month-long checkpoint program nationwide to ensure that civilians are not carrying firearms during the election period.
The PNP and the AFP will start installing one checkpoint in every city or municipality from Jan. 10 to June 8 to enforce the firearms ban during the election period.
Comelec guidelines state that checkpoints must cause minimum public inconvenience, be well-lit and be properly identified by signboard.
“Any search at any Comelec checkpoint must be done in manner which will impose minimum inconvenience upon the person or persons so searched, to the end that civil, political, and human rights of any person are not violated,” the guidelines state.
The Comelec also ordered that officers manning the checkpoint to be in complete service uniform and inspect vehicles in a courteous manner.
At checkpoints, officers are only allowed to perform visual searches and ask some routine question.
“No person may be subjected to a 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 Comelec said.
The Comelec encourages the public to immediate report any incident of illegal inspection, such as a physical or body search.
On the other hand, if the person is shown to be illegally carrying a firearm, the AFP and PNP are authorized to arrest the erring individual.