By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City – The security in Davao Region was tightened Wednesday after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, with Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 Director Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan saying that the order effectively suspended the “plain view” doctrine in the conduct of checkpoints.
In a press conference Wednesday, Gaerlan said the imposition of martial law suspends the “plain view” doctrine, which means passengers will now be asked to get off their vehicles and submit themselves for inspection at checkpoints.
Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Sr. Insp. Maria Teresita Gaspas said the city has been locked down on orders of City Mayor Sara Duterte-Capio.
Under martial law, Gaerlan said some civil rights will be curtailed to some extent.
“The plain view doctrine will no longer be applicable (because) this is martial law. The situation has changed, partly the civil rights of the citizens are temporarily suspended due to the call of the situation, we will need to inspect baggage, packages, bags, if necessary cargo boxes, if necessary, if there is indication that there are firearms explosives and whatever,” he said.
He told passengers: “Just cooperate and submit yourselves for a more thorough inspection.”
The Davao region police chief added that the public should also expect delay in travels by land, air, and sea “to prevent the movement of the terrorists going to possibly Davao Region.”
“We are putting in place stricter checkpoints, thorough search and if we need to order or request the occupants of the vehicles to get out and have their vehicles inspected and belongings,” he said.
Gaerlan said they were awaiting the written guidelines from Duterte on the implementation of the martial law, and whether or not they will be deputized by the military to function as a supporting unit to their operation.
He also underscored that police authorities will continue with their ordinary functions “as a primary law enforcement unit” of the country, and asked the public to “stay calm” because all human rights will be respected.
“There is a big difference between martial law during President (Ferdinand) Marcos and President Duterte,” he said.
During Marco’s regime, he said an Anti-Subversion Act was passed to suppress uprising from the left-leaning organizations.
“We have learned from our lesson. It was a very painful lesson. During that time, there was Philippine Constabulary. Yung kwento-kwento ng abuses, natuto na kami (From all those stories about abuses that were committed, we have learned from). I hope our personnel will make sure there will not abuses,” he said.
Gaerlan added that the purpose for declaring martial law will be defeated if it only leads to abuse.
“Ang purpose ng Martial Law ay pangalagaan ang communities hindi i-harass at hindi isurpress ang mga tao (The purpose of martial law is to take care of the communities, and not to harass or suppress the people),” he said.
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