GUIDELINES ON THE ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF COMELEC CHECKPOINTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 13, 2013 AUTOMATED SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL, LOCAL AND ARMM REGIONAL ELECTIONS
Promulgation: 18 December 2012
WHEREAS, to effectively implement the firearms ban during the election period, it is necessary to establish COMELEC checkpoints;
WHEREAS, there is a need to ensure that in the implementation of the proper search procedures and seizure at the COMELEC checkpoints, civil, political and human rights are not violated;
NOW, THEREFORE, The Commission on Elections, pursuant to the powers vested in it by the constitution, Omnibus Election Code and other election laws, RESOLVED to promulgate, as it hereby RESOLVES to promulgate the following guidelines:
SECTION. 1. Comelec Checkpoints.- There shall be at least one COMELEC checkpoint in each city/municipality. However, additional checkpoints may be established at the discretion of the highest ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the city/municipality.
Sec. 2. Checkpoint location. — The officials mentioned in the 0 immediately preceding section shall, in consultation with the city/municipal Election Officer (EO), establish Comelec checkpoints in their respective areas of jurisdiction only in places which are well-lighted. In areas where electric light is not available, artificial lighting shall be provided for the purpose.
Sec. 3. Checkpoint signboard. – Every COMELEC checkpoint shall have a signboard measuring three feet by four feet (3′x4′), to clearly identify the place as a COMELEC checkpoint from a reasonable distance.
The following shall be printed/painted on both sides of the signboard in bold letters on a white background:
Please bear with us
Thank you for your cooperation.
Name and Address of Election Officer
Name of Commanding Officer/Team Leader
Sec. 4. Notice of location of checkpoints. – The commanding officer/team leader of the checkpoint must give notice to the Election Officer, as well as non-government organizations and other civic organizations about the establishment and location of Comelec checkpoints in the locality.
Sec. 5. Spot checkpoint. - Where the circumstances warrant, spot checkpoints may be established in locations other than those mentioned in the preceding section. Before establishing such checkpoints, the coordinating officer/team leader shall give notice to the Election Officer.
Sec. 6. Personnel to man checkpoint. – Any unit designated to man a Comelec checkpoint must be led by a regular member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police with a rank of at least lieutenant/inspector.
AFP and PNP personnel manning the checkpoints must be in complete uniform and shall not be under the influence of liquor/drug. Any violation hereof shall make the offender and his commanding officer jointly liable for administrative/criminal action.
Sec. 7. Briefing by the commanding officer/team leader. – A briefing must be given by the. commanding officer/team leader to all members of the unit who will be designated to man the checkpoints, with emphasis on the proper manner of searching with reasonableness.
Sec. 8. Searches at Comelec checkpoint. - Any search at any Comelec checkpoint must be made only by members of the unit designated to man the same. It should be done in a manner which will impose minimum inconvenience upon the person or persons so searched, to the end that civil, political and human rights of the person/s are not violated.
As a rule, a valid search must be authorized by a search warrant duly issued by an appropriate authority. However, a warrantless search can be made in the following cases:
- Moving vehicles and the seizure of evidence made in plain view;
- As long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupant/s subjected to a body search, and the inspection of the vehicle is merely limited to a visual search;
- When the occupant/s of the vehicle appear to be nervous or suspicious or exhibit unnatural reaction.
- If the officer conducting the search has reasonable or probable cause to believe that either the occupant/s is a law offender or that the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to the commission of a crime can be found in the vehicle to be searched; or
- On the basis of prior confidential information which are reasonably corroborated by other attendant matters.
Sec. 9. Rights of person arrested. – Any person arrested at a Comelec checkpoint must be treated humanely and with utmost respect for his constitutional rights. He must be informed of the following rights:
- To remain silent, and be informed that anything he says may be used against him in court. This right cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel;
- To have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice, but if he cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. The right cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel;
- To be released from detention if no charges have been filed against him within eighteen (18) hours from the arrest, unless he is charged under P.D. 1866, as amended.
Sec. 10. Record of arrest. – Any arrest made at a Comelec checkpoint shall be immediately and chronologically recorded in a logbook for the purpose, stating the circumstances of the arrest and other particulars about the person and confiscated weapons, ammunitions and materials.
The arresting officer shall execute an affidavit of arrest stating clearly and distinctly the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Sec. 11. Report and turn-over of arrested person. – Any person arrested at a Comelec checkpoint including the confiscated material, weapon, ammunition and material, must be turned-over to the nearest law enforcement station or office together with the corresponding affidavit/s of arrest for proper action.
The chief of police/detachment commander concerned shall conduct a preliminary examination and submit the result thereof to the provincial/city prosecutor for preliminary investigation, coy furnished the Law Department, E0, and their respective operation centers.
Sec. 12. Report of the Law Department. – The Law Department shall submit to the COMELEC a progress report stating the particulars of all arrests made during the election period.
Sec. 13. Effectivity. – This resolution shall take effect on the seventh day after its publication in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulations.
Sec. 14. Dissemination. The Education and Information Department shall cause the publication of this resolution in two (2) daily newspaper of general circulation, and shall furnish copies hereof to the AFP Chief of Staff, the Director General of the Philippine National Police, the Regional Election Directors, the Provincial Election Supervisors and the Election Officers, copies of said resolution.
|(Sgd.) SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR.
|(Sgd.) RENE V. SARMIENTO
|(Sgd.) LUCENITO N. TAGLE
|(Sgd.) ARMANDO C. VELASCO
|(Sgd.) ELIAS R. YUSOPH
|(Sgd.) CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM
|(Sgd.) MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA