CHR urges police to suspend 'tambay' crackdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2018 10:23 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2018 11:26 AM

Police round up suspected loiterers in Dagupan City on June 19, 2018. ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday urged authorities to suspend its campaign against those who loiter in the streets until the extent of the crackdown is explained to the public.

Thousands have been apprehended for loitering, smoking, drinking and going shirtless in public since the Philippine National Police intensified its drive against the "tambay" on June 13.

Asked if the campaign should be suspended for the meantime, CHR Commissioner Gwen Pimentel said: "Yes."

"What is the extent of this crackdown? If we call it crackdown, or this arresting of tambays? And what is the meaning of tambays? So that people will also know," she told ANC.

"Am I being a tambay if I do this? If I go to a sari-sari store at night, do I fear that I'm just going to be nabbed by a policeman because I'm a tambay?" she said.

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The CHR is monitoring the campaign for possible human rights violations, Pimentel said.

Authorities started rounding up loiterers after President Rodrigo Duterte said on June 14 that those who are "just idling around" could pose "potential trouble for the public."

Duterte's predecessor, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, signed a law to decriminalize vagrancy in 2012, due to concerns that when it considered a crime, it could lead to arbitrary arrests.