State of nat’l emergency: More police, military in malls, train stations

Pia Ranada
(UPDATED) The Palace releases guidelines for implementing President Duterte's declaration of 'state of national emergency on account of lawless violence'

STATE OF LAWLESSNESS. At least 14 people died while scores were injured after an explosion at the Roxas Night Market in Davao City on September 2, 2016. Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Under the state of national emergency declared by President Rodrigo Duterte, expect to see more police and military personnel in malls and train stations.

This is among the guidelines of Proclamation Number 55 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Monday, September 5. The guidelines specify how the state of national emergency will be implemented.

Read Memorandum Circular No. 3 detailing the guidelines of the state of national emergency here:

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The guidelines put the Department of National Defense and Department of the Interior and Local Government in charge of coordinating the “immediate deployment of additional forces of the AFP and the PNP.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as written in the proclamation, are tasked with suppressing lawless violence in Mindanao and preventing its escalation in the rest of the country.

The AFP and PNP are to be deployed “on major streets and thorougfares, as well as near crowded places such as malls and train stations.”

Their purpose is to “increase troop and military visibility for deterrence and quick-response purposes.”

But the guidelines also state that the “constitutional rights of every individual shall be respected and given due regard by the AFP and the PNP.”

It specifies that “no warrantless arrests shall be effected” except in the following situations: 

  • When the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense in the presence of an arresting officer
  • When an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed the offense
  • When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending
  • When the person arrested, or to be arrested, has voluntarily waived his right against warrantless arrests

On frisking, checkpoints

Warrantless searches and seizures may only be done in the following instances:

  • When the person to be searched has consented to the search or voluntarily waived his right against warrantless searches and seizures
  • As an incident to a lawful arrest, and the search is contemporaneous to the arrest and within a permissible area of search
  • Search of vessels and aircraft for violation of immigration and customs laws
  • Search of automobiles at borders or “constructive” borders for violation of immigration or smuggling laws
  • Where the objects and effects to be seized are in plain view
  • Stop-and-frisk situations
  • Search arising from exigent and emergency circumstances

For stop-and-frisk situations, typically done at the entrances of malls or public buildings, search is limited to “light patting on the outer garments” to be able to “detect the possession of weapons or similar effects.”

The guidelines also define what police and military are allowed to do at checkpoints.

Police and military are only allowed to “request to roll down vehicle windows, search for things in plain view,” and request for “identification and vehicle registration papers.”

Security forces are barred from “demanding the opening of trunks or lids or asking persons on board to step out.”

These can be done, however, if “the subject consents or agrees.”

AFP and PNP personnel who violate the guidelines and other constitutional rights will be held administrative and civilly or criminally liable. – 

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at