Palace says Duterte’s order only meant to discourage loiterers
President Rodrigo Duterte was only discouraging loiterers, Malacañang said on Saturday, as critics said his recent order to crackdown on “tambays” was another anti-poor campaign.
But Duterte on Friday clarified that he never ordered the police to arrest them.
“Those sons of bitches were not listening. I never said ‘arrested.’ But if you are drinking in the alley, in the squatters area, and making a living room out of the road there, you’ll really get nabbed,” he said blasting his critics.
The President, a longtime prosecutor, said loitering was no longer a crime.
In a speech in Malacañang on June 13, the President said, “My directive is, if you’re just standing by (in the streets), tell them, ‘Go home. If you don’t go home, I’ll bring you to the office in Pasig.’”
He added: “I’ll take care of it. Tie their hands together and I’ll throw them in (the river).”
The police have since rounded up nearly 7,300 people since June 13.
Sought for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President was not contradicting his earlier statement.
“I have always thought that was what he meant. In fact, he was very careful with his words. ‘Apprehend’ is what he used and in law it’s really different from ‘apprehend to arrest,’” Roque told INQUIRER.net in an interview.
“Because arrest really has to be when there is a breach of any existing law or ordinance,” he added.
The Palace official said Duterte was only discouraging loiterers, and the crackdown was part of law enforcement and crime prevention.
“Yung mga [police who are] discouraging loiterers, it is really a matter of approaching them and saying break up, otherwise we will bring you to the barangay hall,” he said.
The President has said that people “just idling around” are “potential trouble for the public.”
Faith in Albayalde
The president’s order was met with criticisms from various human rights groups and even from lawmakers after the death of 22-year-old Quezon City resident Genesis “Tisoy” Argoncillo, who was picked up by the police near his home.
“Well, that is why we are investigating already,” Roque said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde on Friday insisted that the police have “not violated any law” despite complaints of abuses and at least one death.
“We have all the faith in Albayalde to investigate,” Roque said.“I’m very impressesed with the kind of cooperation Albaylde has been showing.” /ee
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