VICE President Leni Robredo and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday took turns denouncing the police crackdown against loiterers (tambay).
Robredo, a public interest lawyer, tagged the controversial campaign as “anti-poor,” after the police rounded up thousands of loiterers—apparently abiding by the President’s order to be strict with “tambays,” as they pose “potential trouble to the public.”
For his part, Gatchalian said that the police, instead of going after loiterers in the streets, should arrest the lawbreakers.
At a news forum, Gatchalian stressed that the crackdown against loiterers was really “confusing.”
Robredo called on the citizens to be vigilant against the crackdown, and be informed about their rights to prevent abuses similar to those committed under the war against drugs.
Robredo noted that vagrancy has been decriminalized, and the order against loiterers, in effect, sets aside the legislative act on the matter.
“Para kasing binibigyan ng lisensya iyong mga law enforcement na opisyal na mang-abuso. Nakita na natin itong danger nito noong kasagsagan ng anti-drug war. Inuulit na naman natin ngayon,” she said.
She added: “Hindi nakakatulong iyong paiba-ibang statement kasi lalong nagbibigay ng kalituhan.”
Gatchalian chimed in and told a news forum that the crackdown against loiterers was really “confusing.”
“Loitering is not exactly a crime. I would really like to encourage the Philippine National Police that instead of anti-tambay, they should make it anti-pasaway,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said this should also serve as a challenge for newly elected barangay officials to strengthen their local ordinances in order to attain peace and order in their community.
At least 7,000 loiterers in Metro Manila streets have been apprehended by authorities in their week-long operations. Police claimed that those arrested had violated municipal ordinances.
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