MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday denied the crackdown on “tambays” (loiterers) is a prelude to martial law.
Speaking on DZMM, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte merely wants local ordinances against loiterers to be implemented.
"Hindi po dahil 'yan naman po ay problema sa tambay at talaga naman pong matagal nang problema ng mga lokal na pamahalaan, so sa akin po, remote naman po ang posibilidad na 'yan," he said.
(It is not (a prelude to martial law) because loiterers have long been a problem in the local government. For me, that is a remote possibility.)
Roque added that as a lawyer, Duterte will not order anything that is against the law.
"Ang presidente po ay abogado, hindi naman niya layunin na siya pa ang lalabag sa batas, dahil lalo na po siya, alam na alam po niya ang criminal law," he explained.
(The president is a lawyer. He does not intend to break the law, especially since he knows criminal law well.)
According to Roque, only those with criminal records or are known to break laws will be arrested.
"Meron kasing mga lokal na pamahalaan na nagkakaroon ng curfew para sa mga menor de edad, 'yan ay ipapatupad ng pulis, at ang ninanais lang naman niya, siyempre, kailangan, may impormasyon 'yung mga pulis, sino 'yung mga huhulihin na mga tambay," he said.
(There are local government units that implement curfews for minors, that will be implemented by the police. The president only wants these ordinances to be implemented, and of course, the police should know who they will arrest.)
"Hindi naman 'yung nakatayo lang, wala namang criminal record o hindi naman kilalang tao na tumatambay lamang ay huhulihin nang walang dahilan," Roque added.
(Those with no criminal records or are not known as loiterers will not be arrested for no reason.)
Roque earlier assured that public’s rights will be respected following the president's order.
Duterte’s order was heavily criticized by opposition lawmakers, saying it was reminiscent of the martia law era.