DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte snapped back at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), whose top leader opposed the government’s order to clear the country’s streets of “tambays” (loiterers).
While Duterte did not mention IBP national president Abdiel Fajardo’s name, he spent several minutes in his speech Saturday, July 7, lashing out at “the president of IBP” and describing him as “sira ulo” (crazy).
“Look, guy, if you are the president of IBP, there is no need for a law for me to order the clearing of the streets,” Duterte said during the inauguration of the Malayan Colleges Mindanao in Davao City.
He added, “If I say arrest and take into custody the young people, that is well within my parens patriae – the father of the nation – to protect them from crime.”
Parens patriae, which is Latin for “parent of the nation,” refers to the power of the state to act as the parent of a person when their actual parents or guardians are neglectful or abusive.
Fajardo has been vocal against the Philippine National Police’s anti-tambay campaign. In mid-June, Fajardo said Duterte’s verbal order is not enough basis for police to arrest loiterers, unless they committed a crime based on the Revised Penal Code.
But Duterte reiterated that he sees nothing wrong in implementing the campaign, and alleged that the tambays are being used as “drug couriers.”
He said the government is taking the loiterers into custody, especially the minors, so they are “out of the streets” or placed “at the barangay and safe places.”
“Nothing is wrong with that. You can bring me to the Supreme Court and we will see each other there,” he added.
Duterte earlier said that Philippine streets should be cleansed of tambays to “lessen crime and maintain peace and order.”
After the President’s pronouncements, police have arrested at least 2,981 people for supposedly loitering in the streets while allegedly violating city ordinances on curfews, public smoking, public nudity, and drinking in the streets. (READ: [OPINION] Tambayanan: A nation of bystanders)
The campaign resembles a local ordinance in Duterte’s hometown Davao City which prohibits minors from loitering in streets during late hours of the night. – Rappler.com