CHR exec: Anti-'tambay' ops need clear-cut guidelines

By Juancho Gallarde

June 26, 2018, 9:18 pm

DUMAGUETE CITY -– The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental, headed by Dr. Jesus Cañete, has emphasized the need for clear-cut guidelines in the implementation of Oplan RODY (Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths) or the drive against loiterers of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“In the absence of clear-cut guidelines, 'operation tambay' is open to possibilities of human error at the expense of our constituents,” Cañete said late Monday afternoon. 

He issued the statement in the wake of the implementation of Oplan RODY in the province, as he asked authorities to produce the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) so the ordinary policeman on the ground could also be protected from lawsuits.

The CHR field investigator, however, stressed that clearing the streets of “tambays” (bystanders and loiterers) has good intentions but there could be repercussions in the absence of  guidelines, even as the police can always invoke the anti-vagrancy law and other laws if they would be challenged in court.

He asked whether being a bystander is now a crime, stressing that it should be clearly defined, so that both law enforcers and the individuals being sought for under this order could be guided accordingly and that the law enforcer could avoid making his own judgment. 

The CHR official also cautioned law enforcers against the provisions of the so-called “plain view doctrine and illegal searches” that these could be done incidental to a lawful arrest.

He agreed to the good intention of the order, in line with the peace and order campaign of the city when it comes to the real loiterers, who cannot produce identification cards when confronted by law enforcers.

Superintendent Jonathan Pineda, chief of police of Dumaguete City, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental, said they have started implementing the order, conducted checkpoints starting at 10 p.m., as well as rounding up joints for minors, including “tambays.”

In fact, he said they recently arrested a suspected drug peddler in Looc, Dumaguete City during an anti-tambay operation.

He said their Oplan RODY is three-pronged: to check on unregistered motor vehicles, unlicensed drivers and possible carrying of firearms; implement the curfew ordinance, and to implement the anti-vagrancy law. (PNA)