Know your rights: What to do if arrested over anti-tambay drive

Maria Romero
PUBLISHED June 22, 2018 03:52 pm
Photo by Edd Gumban. Graphics by Laila Villamor

(Inside Manila) President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the crackdown of nighttime street loiterers also known as “tambays” to prevent crimes and to promote police visibility in the communities. However, the said pronouncement drew flak for it limits a person’s “right to liberty, association and due process.”


Knockers claimed that the “Anti-tambay” directive is the president’s small step towards nationwide martial law, while some noticed that it has similarity to War on Drugs campaign where only poor people are targeted. They called out that instead of rounding up the bystanders, the government should focus on addressing the problems that caused them to bum around their streets such as joblessness and school cost increase.


Based from National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), from 5 a.m. of June 13 to 5 a.m. of June 20, there are at least 7,291 “tambays” nabbed in Manila alone.


And because Filipino people, especially teenagers, are naturally fond of killing time along the streets while casually catching up with their neighbors, Inside Manila has listed things that a person should do to protect their constitutional rights in case arrested over the ordinance:



  1. Compose yourself and talk properly


If ever a police chanced upon you chilling alongside the streets of your village and tried to arrest you, compose yourself and don’t panic. Panic is sometimes a manipulation of guilt so try to relax in order to talk properly. And don’t forget to ask them why you are under arrest. Remember: vagrancy is not a crime just as long as you did not do something unlawful.



  1. Exercise your right to remain silent


Because police hold so much power these days, you may end up spending a night over at the precinct even if you resist on going. While under the custody of the authorities, don’t ever dare to speak anything against them nor the administration. Anything you say may possibly be used against you. If you can, immediately call a family member or lawyer.



  1. Do not run away nor sign papers


Running away may get you into bigger danger, so don’t do that. More so, don’t ever sign any paper. And even if you really have to sign something, read it carefully. Once you have signed it, you can never take it back.



  1. Be vigilant


It isn’t enough to be silent and composed, it is also important to stay watchful of the things that may go wrong. You may be set up for bigger disarray or you may be planted evidences against you so stay awake and watch your surroundings.



  1. If you can, try to record possible evidences


Do not underestimate the power of technology. In an era where people all went digital, your gadgets can be your saving grace. If ever the police took advantage of you, do your best to record it. Electronic trails can be your best asset in situations like this. Once the authorities file charges against you and you cannot present any evidence to disprove it, you’re dead because well… they are the ruling classes.

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