Dispatch from Crame No. 328: Si Duterte ang Pambansang Tambay — Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Duterte’s new policy of arresting on sight “tambays”


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The President and the PNP cannot just make up a law out of thin air. Hanging out has never been a crime. It is not even vagrancy, an act that was decriminalized precisely because of the law’s discriminatory and senseless objective.

With no law to back up his new policy of arresting on sight so-called “tambays”, Duterte wants to demonstrate once again the lengths he would go to be more despotic than his idol Marcos. He has already succeeded in this in several aspects. Foremost among them is having the record for the highest number of Filipinos killed in State-sanctioned extra-judicial executions.

And as always, his victims are the poor. In no way will the police be arresting rich teenagers hanging out in posh coffeeshops anytime soon.

The new policy is targeted against poor communities and ordinary people on the street with or without any immediate business to attend to. Because it does not matter what the reason one has for being in one place at a particular time, it is the police who will determine by the look of the person whether he or she will be arrested.

The arrests are that discriminatory. They are illegal arrests plain and simple. They are arbitrary seizures of persons that exemplify a constitutional violation of the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

But of course, Duterte does not care about the Constitution when it comes to the poor. And the PNP which is his instrument of oppression and abuse of power in this period of our history does not care less as long as they please him and its generals get their promotions.

Under this government, the poor have no rights, not even the right to be in the place they want to be at a given time and occupy a portion of the public space. That right is now only reserved for the middle class and the rich.

This new authoritarian and oppressive policy must be resisted at all costs. If there is anyone who is wastefully occupying public space, it is the crazy man in Malacañang. And to think that we are even paying a huge sum of taxpayers’ money for an entourage of incompetent officials to aimlessly hang out with him while the country sinks deeper into crisis.

Si Duterte ang tunay na tambay ng bansa na walang ginawa kung hindi magmukhang palaging lasing at bangag sa harap ng publiko. Yan ang taong hindi talaga nagtatrabaho, na walang ginawa kung hindi magpatawa, magkalat ng tsismis at intriga, at mambastos ng mga babaeng dumadaan sa harap niya sa araw-araw ng kanyang pagka-pangulo ng bansa. Si Duterte ang tunay na pambansang tambay.###

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