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What you should do if cops pick you up in Duterte’s ‘tambay’ crackdown

Philstar.com
What you should do if cops pick you up in Duterteâs âtambayâ crackdown
Here’s what you should do if authorities try to pick you up in their operations against “tambays.”
Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police saw an increase in arrests it has made following President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on “tambays,” or people who loiter in the streets, whom he called as “potential troublemakers.”

But with vagrancy decriminalized in 2012 under the Revised Penal Code, lawyer Gaby Concepcion said law enforcers could not make arrests on the grounds of loitering in the streets as this might set a “bad precedent” and become a source for violations of human rights.

“Supposedly it’s not against the law to venture out or get some air. It’s difficult to judge a person based on physical appearance and this may set a bad precedent and a source of violation for human rights,” Concepcion said in Filipino on GMA 7’s “Unang Hirit” on Friday.

“We cannot deny that there are vagrants who are bad people, but we want to say that not all vagrants are bad people. We cannot judge on the basis of superficial acts,” she added.

Here’s what should do if authorities try to pick you up in their operations against “tambays,” according to a paralegal “bust card” by Karapatan, or the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights:

  • A person has the right to consult a lawyer or any human rights organization or communicate with his or her relatives.
  • He or she may opt to remain silent and refuse to answer the questions presented by authorities.
  • Further, he or she may refuse to sign any documents without legal assistance from a lawyer, to accept the services of a lawyer provided by the police or military, be taken any photo, fingerprint or undergo physical examination and inspection.
  • Persons arrested without a warrant must be presented to the fiscal’s office immediately.
  • An inquest may not be made after 12 hours for light offenses (vagrancy, vandalism) or those punishable by at least one month in prison, 18 hours for less grave offenses or those punishable by six years (illegal assembly, direct assault), and 36 hours for grave offenses or those punishable by six years and above (sedition, rebellion).
  • Any detention would be declared illegal once it goes beyond the fixed time and the person must be set free.
  • A person arrested or invited by the police should remain calm and vigilant, give the complete details of the incident.

It is important that any person arrested or invited by the police should:

  • Remain calm and vigilant
  • Provide the complete details of the incident
  • Insist his or her rights
  • Insist that he or she contact any relative, lawyer or any human rights organization about the location, other persons arrested, and any information that may help for his or her release
  • Ask the arresting officer/s complete name, rank and position

— by Philstar.com intern Christian de Lano Deiparine

HUMAN RIGHTS

RODRIGO DUTERTE

TAMBAYS

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