MANILA - Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Monday reminded the Philippine National Police that loitering is not a crime, after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a crackdown on "tambays" or late night bystanders in the streets.
"Para po sa mga tagapagpatupad ng batas, hindi na po krimen ang tumambay, o mag-loiter. Republic Act 10158 has decriminalized vagrancy, amending Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code," he said in a statement.
(For our law enforcers, loitering is not a crime)
Loitering was a criminal offense under Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code, which defined vagrants were defined as "any person found loitering about public places or wandering about the streets without visible means of support."
Then president Benigno Aquino III in 2012 signed a law decriminalizing vagrancy amid concerns that the Revised Penal Code has been used to justify arbitrary arrests against the poor.
President Rodrigo Duterte, however, told law enforcers on Wednesday to be strict against loiterers, whom he branded as "potential trouble for the public."
Before the President's statement, authorities have enforced local ordinances on curfew for minors and a ban on drinking in public places and going out half-naked.
Over the weekend, police arrested some 360 "tambays" in Quezon City and Manila alone.
Pangilinan urged the PNP to study the law to implement it properly.
"Kayo ang tagapagpatupad ng batas, alamin ito at ipatupad nang tama. Kayo ang dapat manguna sa pagsunod ng batas at hindi pasimuno sa paglabag dito. Sumunod sa batas at hindi sa utos na lumabag dito," he said.
(You are law enforcers, understand and implement it properly. You should be the first ones to obey the law and not break it. Follow the law and not the order to disobey it.)
- Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News