MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday clarified that bystanders are not arrested simply for loitering under the President's recent directive against the "tambay."
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde explained that loiterers are arrested due to violations of existing local laws.
"We are not arresting these people because of the word na 'tambay' sila (that they are bystanders)," he said in a press conference.
"They are being arrested or accosted and penalized because they have violations of ordinances, not because they are istambay (bystanders)," he added.
Some examples of violations according to Albayalde are smoking in public places, drinking liquor on the streets, and going shirtless in public.
Police began its intensified drive against the "tambay" last June 13 following President Rodrigo Duterte's order for law enforcers to be strict against loiterers, saying they are “potential trouble for the public.”
Albayalde also maintained that police have yet to receive any complaint of human rights violations since their intensified operations.
"We insist on violation of rights when in fact not a single person has come to our office and complained that their rights were violated," he said.
Metro Manila police director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar on Tuesday said some 5,500 people have been arrested in recent days of intensified operations against "tambays" or bystanders on the streets.
Malacañang also assured the public that bystanders would not be picked up by the police as long as they follow local ordinances on loitering.