MANILA - Malacañang on Friday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for law enforcers to be stricter against “tambays” (loiterers), saying this was meant to make the streets safer for the public.
Duterte earlier ordered law enforcers to be strict against loiterers, saying they are “potential trouble for the public.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s order was “more of crime prevention” as the chief executive is aware that no arrest could be made if no crime is committed.
He said the remarks also meant the President wants stricter enforcement of city ordinances meant to curb crimes on the streets.
“The President's remarks are for the police to ask those who stay late at night in the streets to go home. Now, should they be arrested if they refuse? The President as a lawyer knows that if no crime has been committed, there is no basis for arrest,” Roque said in a statement.
“But just the same, he would rather that those loitering should go home so that those people with bad intentions are thwarted.”
Roque issued the clarification after opposition lawmaker Tom Villarin of Akbayan party-list criticized the President’s order saying this was reminiscent of the situation during the martial law period.
“Nothing wrong with fighting crime being a responsibility of government. But if you go down to going after tambays and having them thrown in the Pasig river, then something must be afoot now that President Duterte views common crime being a national security threat,” Villarin said in a statement.