Duterte hits critics, says ‘no arrest’ made in crackdown on ‘tambays’

President Rodrigo Duterte hit back at his critics and claimed that no arrests were made following his order to the police to launch a crackdown on “tambays” (loiterers or idlers).

“Yung utos ko sa pulis na ‘yung mga tambay. Sundin lang ninyo ‘yung utos ko. Wala namang inaaresto,” Duterte in his speech during  Certificate of Land Ownership Award in Cabatuan, Iloilo.

The President said he did not want to see individuals loitering.

“I just don’t want you using the streets to loiter,” he said.

“Ito mga dada na ito, na wala ‘yang… Pa-ano lang… Nagpapansin,” he added.

But despite his remark that no one was being arrested, the police have rounded up more than 7,000 people for allegedly violating ordinances in Metro Manila during the past week.

READ: Police collar 7,000 ‘tambays’ violating ordinances

In a speech last week, Duterte directed authorities to be strict with tambays, saying they are “potential trouble for the public.”

The President told the police to bring to his office in Malacañang those who would refuse to heed the police and would remain loitering in the streets, even at night time, and he would throw them into the Pasig River.

His remarks drew criticisms from various groups and lawmakers, saying this was a prelude to a nationwide martial law.

READ: Solon on Duterte’s directive vs ‘tambays’: This is martial law redux

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said Duterte only wanted a strict enforcement of the laws to prevent crime.

READ: Palace: Enforcing laws vs tambays is crime prevention 

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