Sen. Raffy Tulfo has filed a measure seeking to stop the discrimination of motorcycle riders by policemen during checkpoints.
While checkpoints are being put up to check on suspected lawless elements, Tulfo said they are being used by unscrupulous policemen to extort money from hapless motorcycle riders.
In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1977, Tulfo lamented police officers who often stop riders at makeshift checkpoints and demand several documents like license and registration and inspect their motorcycle’s compartment. Riders are also subject to body search without explaining the reason for the checkpoint, SB 1977 noted.
Tulfo also said four-wheel vehicles are often allowed to pass through these checkpoints without any hassles, which seems to be a clear-cut case of profiling and discrimination.
In some cases, Tulfo said cops would plant evidence, like contraband, drugs, firearms, and the likes so that they can extort money from the riders.
Under Tulfo’s SB No. 1977, the guidelines for checkpoints must be implemented uniformly for all motor vehicles to further prevent the profiling and discrimination of motorcycle riders.
For one, the plain view doctrine must be observed in the conduct of inspection of all vehicles during a routine checkpoint which should be conducted only for visual inspection.
Here, the police cannot ask drivers to step out of the car or get off the motorcycle, inspect it, or submit to a physical or body search without the rider’s permission.
Tulfo said police officers manning checkpoints can demand to see the motor vehicle operator’s license and registration only if they observed any traffic violations such as damaged light, lack of plate number, and failure to wear a helmet.
Otherwise, they should be allowed to go on their way pass the checkpoint without further delay or hassle.
The only time police officers can proceed to implement the “stop and frisk” procedure is if they have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed immediately before or during and at the checkpoint.
Appropriate penal sanctions for enforcement officers who violate the act will be imposed. In cases where death resulted to persons subjected to the checkpoint procedures, the highest penalty of reclusion perpetua must be imposed. Other criminal offenses will be punished accordingly.