Solon proposes law on conducting checkpoints

The conduct of setting up police checkpoints is allowed under existing laws and the Philippine National Police (PNP) has already published guidelines on the preparation, execution, and post-activity reporting of such operations.

Unfortunately, in the real world, it is mostly just the regular motorcycle riders who are singled out by the PNP at such checkpoints. Big bike riders and other types of vehicles, are mostly ignored and do not go through routine inspection.

A new law is being proposed to make these police checkpoints applicable to all types of vehicles.

Senator wants all vehicles stopped at checkpoints image

Senator Raffy Tulfo has filed Senate Bill (SB) 1977 or the Checkpoint Regularization Act. The bill aims to regulate the conduct of police checkpoints across the country. In his explanatory note, the current conduct of such police checkpoints has resulted in “serious violations from irresponsible and abusive checkpoint personnel.”

Sen. Tulfo also added that most if not all of the time, it’s just the motorcycle riders who are being flagged down at checkpoints. In response, SB 1977 seeks for checkpoints to be implemented uniformly for all motorists whether they are driving two, three, or four-wheeled vehicles.

Moreover, SB 1977 seeks to regulate the establishment of checkpoints in order to prevent any other infringements of the constitutional rights of people against unwarranted searches.

More civilian involvement is possible

The current (revised, 2021) PNP Operational Guidelines encourages the active participation of civilians from Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), media, and other stakeholders during police checkpoint operations.

Some NGOs are even brought in as “force multipliers” by the PNP during these checkpoints. However, their participation must be limited only as observers and are not allowed in any way to ask for documents e.g.: OR/CR, driver’s license, nor conduct searches on flagged down vehicles.

Senator wants all vehicles stopped at checkpoints image

Under SB 1977, civilian volunteers manning the checkpoint must be in their organization’s uniform and their IDs must be conspicuously displayed. SB 1977 has yet to establish limitations on the involvement of civilian volunteers during the conduct of a police checkpoint. If none is established and it becomes a law, the Checkpoint Regularization Act may be subject to interpretation, and civilian volunteers, aka force multipliers, may be given tasks that were supposedly done by PNP personnel only.

The bill is currently being discussed at the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.