Duterte wants ‘arrest’ of loitering minors
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police to “arrest” teenagers loitering on the streets at night.
His latest directive came on Monday night, in the midst of a crackdown against “tambays” or loiterers.
“Below 18, you arrest the teenagers there around loitering because we have to protect our children. Drugs and other illegal stuff are everywhere,’ Duterte said in a speech before the oathtaking of newly-elected village chiefs of Northen Mindanao in Cagayan de Oro.
“You take them into custody not to arrest them, but for their own safety to protect them,” he added. “They are not being arrested for any crime. It’s for their own good that they are arrested.”
Mr. Duterte cited the principle of “parens patriae” in ordering for the arrest of minors, and putting them under government custody.
“We can take custody of the minors to protect them under the principle of parens patriae,” he pointed out.
He also said that his administration’s crackdown against loiterers would continue.
“We call them istambay. That’s the word. That is my order. And you continue to frisk people who are there on the street and that is legal,” he said.
“Until such time, that is my order,” he further told the police.
Duterte stressed that his order against loiterers is legal until the Supreme Court says otherwise.
“That to me is legal until the Supreme Court says it is illegal. Until the Supreme Court says or court says that I cannot do it,” he said.
He told the police not to mind critics and continue doing their jobs.
“Do not believe in the criticisms. Do not read it. It’s none of your business to be reading what they are talking about. It’s our business to follow what we are ordered to do,” he said.
The President said in his June 21 speech that loitering is not a crime as crirics said his latest order against tambays is antipoor.
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there was nothing wrong with Duterte’s order against minors.
“That’s right because the President said minors could be apprehended, bring them to the barangay, to the DSWD, until their parents fetch them,” Roque said in Filipino during a press briefing in Davao City.
“In other words, what the President does not tolerate is minors who are loitering in the streets especially at night,” he added.
The Palace official also supported the President’s statement invoking the principle on parens patriae.
“That’s right. In the exercise of parens patriae, the government becomes the second parent of minors,” he said. /kga
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