Facing arrest for 'loitering'? Know your rights


Posted at Jun 23 2018 01:55 AM | Updated as of Jun 23 2018 06:01 PM

Police have arrested around 8,000 individuals in just a week in operations against tambays (loiterers) who allegedly violated local ordinances. 

This is in light of President Rodrigo Duterte's recent order for stricter law enforcement against loitering.

If you are facing arrest, here are the things you should keep in mind, according to the Free Legal Assistance Group.

1. Stay calm. Do not let your imagination run wild about what will happen next.

2. Ask a relative, a friend or even a stranger (get the name and address) to witness your arrest. You may also call your family, friends, and lawyer so they may listen in on your arrest.

3. Ask the person or persons arresting you for their names, their official positions, and the office or unit they belong to.

4. Ask for a copy of their authority to arrest you and examine it carefully. Note in particular if you are correctly named in the warrant of arrest and the offense for which you are being arrested.

5. Do not physically resist the arrest. State that you object to your arrest and are not waiving any of your rights, but are going with them peacefully in order to avoid violence.

6. Ask your arresting officer where you will be taken. Ask that you be accompanied by the relative, friend or stranger who witnessed your arrest. 

7. Ask to be allowed to call your lawyers; if denied, ask your relative or another witness to your arrest to do so. Inform your lawyer of your arrest, the identity of the arresting officers, the cause of your arrest, and where you will be taken.

8. Remember all violations of your rights, if any, and complain about them at the first opportunity after your arrest, when you are presented to a judge or fiscal/public prosecutor.

9. If the persons making the arrest are in civilian clothes and refuse to give their names or show any warrant of arrest, refuse to go with them. The law requires arresting officers to be dressed in uniform, to behave properly, and to respect your rights and your dignity. 

10. If you are told that you are not being arrested but merely invited for questioning, reply that you will first consult your lawyer. Get your lawyer to talk to the officers and arrange a date, time, and place for your questioning. If they do not allow you to consult your lawyer, refuse to go with them. If they insist, their acts become an arrest and the preceding advice applies.