Monday, April 23, 2012

COMELEC CHECKPOINT

COMELEC CHECKPOINT

In every election period establishment of COMELEC Checkpoints is necessary to effectively implement the firearms ban during elections. However, in the conduct of checkpoints there is a need to ensure the correct and proper procedure in order not to violate the civil, political and human rights. The reason why Comelec promulgate guidelines to be followed in COMELEC Checkpoints.

Let me take up some of the usual guidelines in the implementation of the subject matter, not necessarily that these are being implemented regularly in a particular period of elections. Laws, rules and regulations do change at any period of time.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP), with pertinent Comelec resolution, is authorized to establish COMELEC Checkpoints. They are allowed to establish at least one (1) COMELEC Checkpoint in every city or municipality where they are assigned, however, additional checkpoints may be established at the discretion of the highest-ranking official of the AFP/PNP in their respective areas of jurisdiction in consultation with the Comelec Election Officer assigned in the city or municipality.

It is mandatory that COMELEC Checkpoints shall be established and conducted only in places which are well lighted or in places where there are sufficient illumination. In areas where electric light is not available, artificial lighting shall be provided. Each COMELEC Checkpoints has a signboard posted from a reasonable distance to clearly identify the place as COMELEC Checkpoint.

Where the circumstances warrants, spot checkpoints may be established in locations other than those mentioned above. But before the establishment of such spot checkpoints the AFP/PNP commanding officer or team leader must give notice to the Commission on Election through the Election Officer concerned in the area. The Election Officer as representative of the Commission on Election is the highest Comelec officer in their respective area. Except in the National Capital Region where notices shall be given to the Committee on Firearms and Security Personnel, through the Law Department of the Commission.

COMELEC Checkpoints are usually manned by regular member or in their absence the most ranking non-commissioned officer of AFP/PNP. Said personnel shall or must be in complete uniform and was properly briefed by their superior on the proper manner of searching with reasonableness. The personnel manning the checkpoints must not be under the influence of liquor/drug otherwise violation hereof shall make the offender and his commanding officer jointly liable for administrative/criminal action.

Searches must be made only by members of the unit designated to man the COMELEC Checkpoints and the search must be done in a manner which will impose minimum of inconvenience upon the person or person so searched, to the end that civil, political and human rights of the person/s are not violated.

As a rule, valid search must be authorized by a search warrant duly issued by an appropriate authority. However, a warrantless search can be made in moving vehicles and the seizure of evidence in plain view; Provided, that the occupants are not subjected to body search, and the inspection of the vehicles is limited to a visual search. Warrantless search can also be done if the officer conducting has reasonable or probable cause to believe, before the search, 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 when there is a consent to the search or a valid waiver thereof.

Any arrest made at a COMELEC Checkpoints including confiscated weapon, ammunition, and materials shall immediately be recorded stating the circumstances of the arrest and other particulars about the person and confiscated weapons, ammunitions and materials. This must be turned over to the nearest station or office together with the corresponding affidavit/s of arrest for proper action. The Chief of Police or Detachment Commander concerned shall conduct preliminary examination and submit result thereof to the Provincial/City Prosecutor for preliminary investigation, copy furnished the Law Department, Commission on Elections and the Election Officer and their respective operation centers.

Any person arrested at a Comelec Checkpoints shall be treated humanely and with utmost respect of their constitutional rights. To remain silent, which cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of a counsel. To have the right to competent and independent counsel preferably of their own choice. If they cannot afford the services of counsel, they must be provided, and this right cannot be waived except in writing and the presence of counsel. If no charges have been filed against him within eighteen (18) hours from arrest he shall be released from detention, unless he is charged under P.D. 1866, as amended.

SOURCE:   Comelec Resolution No. 9588 dated Dec. 18, 2012

VOTERS' PLEDGE

I am a Responsible and Principled Citizen.

I will educate myself and others about the issues at hand so that my vote is a meaningful and relevant exercise of my right of suffrage.

I pledge to vote for candidates who will abide by the duly constituted rules on campaigning because I understand that those who refuse to obey the law in the little things are not likely to obey the law in the more important things;

I pledge to vote for candidates who, by word and action, renounce violence, coercion, vote-buying, and corruption as means for getting elected;

I pledge to vote for the candidates who listen to their constituents and are responsive to the needs and aspirations of those they seek to represent;

I pledge to vote as my conscience dictates in all elections.

I make these promises freely and upon my honor.

(This Voter Pledge was read at the Unity Walk of 13 January 2013, by COMELEC Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph)

SOURCE: NAMFREL