Bulalacao to politicians: Respect checkpoints

OFFICIALS from the AFP, PNP, and Commission on Elections observe the conduct of a checkpoint in Iloilo City on March 30, 2019. (Jennifer P. Rendon)

WESTERN Visayas police chief, Brigadier General John Bulalacao, appealed to politicians to respect checkpoints around the region.

This, after Bulalacao received reports that some politicians and their convoy intentionally skirt checkpoints.

“I have received text messages. But I could still not confirm the veracity of the report because the texter might just be trying to discredit the politician,” he said,

Bulalacao opted not to divulge the politician’s name and post. But the information suggested that the politician had his own vehicle checked while his convoy passed through the road shoulder.

The convoy had several men in each vehicle. The texter apparently implied that they could be the politician’s goons.

“That’s why, I am requesting to all politicians passing through checkpoints to respect our policemen,” Bulalacao  said.

Still, it does not mean that police officers at the checkpoints should go head on with violators.

“Guns should be our last resort,” he said.

But aside from that report, the implementation of checkpoints in the region since March 29, 2019, the official start of the campaign period for local candidates, was orderly.

On Saturday night, a joint AFP-PNP-Comelec inspection was conducted in Iloilo to check on the compliance of checkpoints to prescribed rules and regulations.

Aside from Bulalacao, Major General Dinoh Dolina, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division commander, and Atty. Tomas Valera, Commission on Elections (Comelec) assistant regional director, also joined the inspection.

“So far, policemen conducting checkpoints are alert. They observe the Comelec guidelines. They don’t force motorists and motorists seemed to adjust with the checkpoint implementation,” Bulalacao said.

Valera said he is satisfied with the conduct of checkpoint, except in one area where the prior election officer’s name was still on the checkpoint signage.

Meanwhile, Dolina said the joint inspection showed that the PNP and AFP, as deputized agents of the Comelec, are ready for the May 2019 elections.

“Almost everything is in place. We just need to focus on our inter-operability efforts,” he said.

The joint checkpoint inspections will not be the last as the three agencies vowed to conduct similar activities as elections near.