Policemen will only inspect the bags of protesters during tomorrow’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SoNA) of President Rodrigo Duterte if there are “compelling reasons” to do so.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar clarified this yesterday as he assured that all preparations for the President’s address before the joint session of Congress had been accomplished already.
“We have protocols to follow in situations like these,” said Eleazar. “If there is really a compelling reason and if we receive personal information that there are threats, then we will inspect.”
“But for random checking without any particular information, we don’t really need to do that,” added Eleazar who visited the Daily Tribune offices last week to talk about SoNA preparations and the law and order situation in Metro Manila.
The NCRPO chief stressed that they are on alert in view of the SoNA and bombing incidents in the country this year, primarily in the south.
“If, God forbid, something happens, everyone – including the protesters and police – will be hurt, so we need to be extra careful,” Eleazar said.
He also urged the groups, whether pro-administration or not, to do “self-policing” within their ranks as pledged by their leaders in talks with the police.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reye said he “appreciated” Eleazar’s clarification on the protocols to be followed by the police during the SoNA.