By JOEY NACALABAN
with NORA SORIÑO
GSD-Iligan Bureau .
THERE is a need to define the word “tambay” and the legal infraction it connotes before they could be rounded up by the police, the president of the local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said yesterday.
Lawyer Eddie Cuaresma said that even if the intention is good, which is to help curb criminality, the act of rounding up the “tambay” needs to be studied.
“Tambay” comes from the word “standby” or loosely taken as people who hang out to pass the time, often in the streets.
Police have so far arrested some 3,000 “tambay” in Metro Manila alone supposedly on orders from President Duterte.
But Cuaresma cautioned law enforcers, saying they should avoid complications in implementing a mere verbal order of the President.
The city council may consider approving an ordinance so law enforcers would have a basis, but only after the measure has been thoroughly studied.
Cuaresma said the crackdown on “tambay” is susceptible to abuse.
That is why, he said, the word “tambay” should be clearly defined.
“If they committed a crime, then the state can come in and arrest them,” he said.
But there is a “gray area” when police officers begin rounding up people simply because they were seen sitting or standing by in a neighborhood, he said.
“There must be a law, an ordinance or an executive order defining or punishing specific acts,” Cuaresma said.
In Iligan, city police director Senior Supt. Leony Roy Ga said officers would not be able to carry out Duterte’s verbal order unless the city council passes an ordinance or the President signs an executive order.
In the meantime, Ga urged barangay patrol teams to cooperate and aid the police in promoting peace and order in their respective villages.