PNP to continue crackdown vs. tambays amid criticism
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue its strict crackdown against “tambays,” police chief Dir. Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde said on Monday as he maintained that they did not misinterpret President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive on loiterers.
While noting the death of Genesis “Tisoy” Argoncillo was unfortunate, Albayalde said the campaign, which supposedly enforces local ordinances on peace and order, did not target mere loiterers.
“Let me clearly emphasize that there was never any misinterpretation of our President’s (Rodrigo Dutere) earlier directive to the PNP to do everything within the bounds of the law,” Albayalde said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“Mere loiterers were never targeted, only those violating local ordinances,” Albayalde explained.
These local ordinances include drinking, smoking or urinating in public places; illegal peddling; littering; breaching peace and order; and concealing deadly weapons, he reiterated.
The campaign has sparked public criticism after the death of 25-year-old Argoncillo, who was arrested by patrolling police for alarm and scandal on June 18 and was beaten to death inside the detention cell.
Argoncillo’s family and neighbors said he was watching videos on his phone in front of a store near their house in Novaliches, Quezon City when policemen arrested him for not wearing a shirt.
Neighbors said police had asked Argoncillo to hold empty bottles of beer and photographed him which was used as an evidence.
Quezon City Police District director Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr. said initial investigation showed cell inmates beat Argoncillo to death because he was shouting and making a scene inside the cell.
Argoncillo’s death has drawn spotlight on the controversial campaign, which critics say is a violation of human rights.
Albayalde said the PNP would provide financial assistance to the family and vowed to hold officers on duty during the incident accountable. He said he had already asked National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar to decide if Esquivel should be held accountable too.
The police chief, however, could not say if there were overdoings in the campaign as he maintained no single person has filed a complaint against the police before the PNP Human Rights Assistance Office.
“If that person, ‘yung mga kababayan natin feel their rights were violated at gusto nila mag-complain, then it’s okay. Sabi nga natin, we will investigate and we will manage those that we see kung ano talaga naabuso,” Albayalde said.
(If that person, our fellowmen feel their rights were violated and they want to complain, then it’s okay. We have said that we will investigate and we will manage those that we see whatever rights were violated.) /vvp
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