President Duterte's order to crack down on minors who loiter in the streets is meant to protect the public, his chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said Tuesday.
"He's trying to protect the people. When minors loiter or drink liquor, then you're creating a situation where crimes will arise from that," Panelo told ANC.
He said local ordinances in parts of Metro Manila ban drinking sprees in public places, going out half naked and loitering.
"Following the law in this country has become just an option, not an obedience to the law. There is a law, there is an an ordinance, we have to strictly follow them," he said.
Duterte on Monday said it is the government's duty to protect the youth. He said law enforcement agents, barangay authorities, and government social workers must round up teenagers found loitering on the streets and “take care” of them.
"Below 18, you arrest the teenagers there around loitering, because we have to protect our children. Nagkalat na ang droga, nagkalat na ang lahat (drugs and other illegal stuff are everywhere),” he said.
The President also made it clear that “minors are taken into custody but are not arrested… brought to a safe place for the night, for their protection, fed and then released the morning after."
Duterte on June 13 ordered law enforcers to be strict against late night loiterers. Some 8,000 people have since been apprehended or accosted in Metro Manila, with critics saying that the President's order is a prelude to nationwide martial law.
Duterte, however, said his order was only for the police to frisk tambays and not arrest them, as he acknowledged that it is not illegal to loiter on the streets.
ANC, 26 June 2018