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Plain view doctrine in checkpoints

A POLICE checkpoint is conducted as the election period for the May 2019 national and local elections starts. (Ali Vicoy)

A POLICE checkpoint is conducted as the election period for the May 2019 national and local elections starts. (Ali Vicoy)

As thousands of police checkpoints are expected to be set up across the country for the May elections,
the Philippine National Police said yesterday that they are using the plain view doctrine in checking private vehicles.

At the same time, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana said that motorists should also take note of the courtesy and proper attire of the policemen while conducting checkpoints.

Durana explained that the plain view doctrine simply means that policemen should not go beyond what they see outside and inside the vehicle while checking the cars and the motorists.

“If you are on board a vehicle, you are not required to get off your car and open your trunk,” said Durana. “Our personnel will observe the plain view doctrine, meaning, just a visual search,” he added.

The conduct of checkpoint was controversial in some social media posts as policemen were allegedly planting illegal drugs in the trunk of private cars.

The vehicle where the illegall drugs were planted would then be allegedly stopped at another checkpoint based on the tip-off by the policemen who first stopped the car.

It turned out that these were fake news and did not happen in the Philippines.

The PNP condemned the fake news as a desperate attempt to malign the police force amid the drug war.

Durana said motorists are required to roll down their window when stopped in a checkpoint.

He said that motorists should roll down the windows since policemen are expected to talk to the motorists to inform them about the conduct of the checkpoints. “Maybe just a little (roll down of windows) so that the motorist and the policeman could hear each other,” said Durana. (Aaron B. Recuenco)

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