Vice President Leni Robredo also denounced President Duterte’s order. “The first question is why they will be arrested, because loitering itself is not a crime,” Robredo, a lawyer, said in an interview in Naga City.
Geremy Pintolo
Leni Robredo to PNP: 'Loitering not a crime'
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Law enforcers should not follow President Duterte’s order to round up “tambays (loiterers)” as such order is illegal, opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan said yesterday.

Vice President Leni Robredo also denounced President Duterte’s order. “The first question is why they will be arrested, because loitering itself is not a crime,” Robredo, a lawyer, said in an interview in Naga City.

“If they are not causing trouble to others, if they are not doing wrong, there’s no reason to arrest them,” she said.

Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said vagrancy has been decriminalized with the enactment of Republic Act 10158 in 2012 that amended Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code.

“You are law enforcers, know the law and implement it properly. You should take the lead in following the law and not in violating it. Follow the law and not the orders to violate it,” Pangilinan said in Filipino. “It’s not a crime to loiter.”

He said salaries of policemen, soldier and other uniformed personnel have already been doubled so they should properly perform their duties to the people, “who are the source of your livelihood and authority.”

Sen. Sonny Angara urged the government to intensify its jobs program as he lamented the high youth unemployment rate in the country.

“The country’s unemployment challenge is primarily a youth phenomenon. The JobStart Law is the government’s answer to youth unemployment and its target is the more than one million ‘tambays’ who can’t study or work,” he said.

Angara is the sponsor of the JobStart Philippines Act or Republic Act 10869 that institutionalizes the nationwide implementation of the JobStart Program, which gives the youth free technical and life skills training, placement in internships, as well as job matching assistance and job referrals.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he is in favor of the campaign against loiterers.

“I think it’s really high time for national government to work with barangays to come up with ordinances on curfews so children will not be on the streets after midnight,” Gatchalian said.

Almost 3,000 held

As the number of loiterers rounded up since last week reached 2,981, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde dismissed apprehensions the operation was reminiscent of martial law.

Albayalde said police operations are in accordance with local ordinances and are meant to forestall criminal activities.

“There is nothing new here. Even when I was in the NCRPO (National Capital Regional Police Office), we would usually implement these ordinances,” Albayalde said. “If they think their rights were disregarded or if there are abuses, they can go to Human Rights Affairs Office in every unit and seek for assistance.”

He also ordered the Directorate for Operations to craft guidelines to be observed during the implementation of the ordinances in different localities to avoid confusion and abuses.

He clarified that those rounded up were not really tambays but were violators of ordinances in their respective communities.

Of the 2,981 individuals rounded up, Albayalde said 944 were arrested for violating curfew, 653 for drinking in public places or streets, 651 for being half-naked, 456 for smoking in public places and the rest are for traffic codes and other minor offenses. – With Romina Cabrera, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Helen Flores

FRANCIS PANGILINAN LENI ROBREDO LIBERAL PARTY LOITERING
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