Guidelines on arrest of loiterers out this week, says Albayalde
Even as the police started rounding up “tambays” or people who loiter in the streets at night, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has yet to come up with guidelines on public loitering, police chief Dir. Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde said Monday.
The guidelines, Albayalde said, would help policemen distinguish the difference between local ordinance offenses and vagrancy, which has been decriminalized in 2012.
“Para makita namin lahat, pinapa-consolidate namin lahat ng merong mga city ordinances (We are consolidating all ordinances in different provinces and cities),” Albayalde said in a press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“’Yung ibang pulis baka palaging sasabihin nila bagansya e wala namang anti-vagrancy law na (Some policemen may apprehend people for vagrancy despite the absence of an anti-vagrancy law),” he added.
The crackdown against bystanders was implemented after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered authorities on Wednesday to get rid of people loitering in streets, especially at night.
Some lawmakers have criticized the directive, saying it is reminiscent of martial law.
Albayalde, however, explained that bystanders would only be arrested if they have committed offenses such as drinking, smoking, urinating in public places, violating curfew, and littering.
“Kung nakatambay at pakalat-kalat and you have a violation, yes. Kung wala, hindi naman (If you are wandering around and you have a violation, yes, you will be arrested. If you have no violation, then you won’t be apprehended),” the police chief said when asked if policemen can simply arrest people simply wandering around at night.
He said the term “tambay” was only used loosely by President Duterte.
He also noted that there’s nothing new in the campaign as it has already been implemented even before the President’s order.
The guidelines will be released this week, Albayalde said. /ee
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