The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) insisted that loiterers can only be detained for a maximum of eight hours, if they are arrested for violating city or municipal ordinances.
CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit pointed out that violating ordinances are only considered as light offense.
Dumpit also claimed that ordinances should be ‘in harmony with the Constitution and the national law’.
“Kapag ang basehan ay yung ordinance, titignan din natin iyon. Kasi kung ito ay nagiging dahilan ng pagka-kulong nila, this is considered as light offenses,” Dumpit said during DZRH’s One On One.
“Kapag light offense iyan, hindi iyan pwedeng mag-tagal ng eight hours, especially if it is ordinance,” Dumpit added.
The CHR made this reminder amidst the intensified campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against loiterers (tambays) that violate city ordinances, including drinking liquor in public streets, and being half-naked.
President Rodrigo Duterte told the PNP to go after loiterers, due to being potential trouble for the public.
From 5A.M., June 13 up to 5A.M., June 20, the National Capital Region Police Office revealed that a total of 7,291 loiterers have been apprehended.
Meanwhile, the CHR also reminded that the anti-vagrancy law has already been decriminalized due to Republic Act No. 10158, which was legislated in 2012, and should not be used as a reason for arrest.
Dimpit explained that vagrancy was decriminalized due to being ‘discriminatory against the poor’, and then Sen. Jose ‘Jinggoy’ Estrada, author of R.A. 10158, added that the said law is also outdated.
The CHR commissioner further revealed that they are currently investigating, and gathering evidences regarding complaints of arrested loiterers.
Dimpit announced that their initial investigation has shown that Makati City has no ordinance against people not wearing shirts.
“We’re going to validate it again, but initial investigation shows that there is no ordinance in Makati. Yung pag-huli doon sa mga ibang sabi nilang tambay, yung mga half-naked, wala naman ganung ordinansa sa Makati,” Dimpit said.
Dimpit added that, as per protocol, arresting officers should inform people of their violations before placing them under their custody.