Mahirap Maging Tambay sa Pinas (It's hard to be a bystander in the Philippines)

in philippines •  10 months ago

Tisoy, 22, was killed inside his cell. This caused a sudden focus on the recent killings and numerous random detention of people on the Philippine streets. But who is Tisoy and why was he in jail?

Genesis Argoncillo or Tisoy was waiting for his prepaid load to be credited in front of a sari-sari store near his home when a group of police came to arrest him. According to the police, he was intoxicated and that he was shirtless causing alarm and scandal. Four days later, he was killed inside his jail cell.

Based on the account of Tisoy's sister, the store owner witnessed that the police told Tisoy to hold the empty beer bottles that were scattered around. Then, they took photos of him and said that they would submit it as evidence.

Did Tisoy drink the content of the beer bottles? No.
So, why was he told to hold the bottles so the police could take a pic of him?

Was Tisoy shirtless? Yes. In a tropical country like the Philippines, it's pretty common to see men without their shirt on.

Is it illegal to go out near your house without your shirt on? Is it illegal to buy in a sari-sari store without your shirt on? What was really the root cause of the arrest?

The President's Order and the Law on Loitering

Recently, the president released a verbal order to the police to crackdown tambays or bystanders/loiterers.

"They are potential trouble for the public," he said.

Who are tambays? Is there a concrete definition of what a tambay is? Is it illegal to be a street tambay?

In layman's term, tambays are the ones loitering on the streets. Usually, tambays consist of the poor and unemployed. That's why there's public outcry that the president's directive is against the poor. For the so-called leader that was elected by the poor & for the poor, it's quite ironic.

Article 202 of the Republic Act 10158 of the Revised Penal Code was amended in 2012 decriminalizing vagrancy. This means that as long as the bystanders do not harm or do not violate laws, there should be no reason to arrest them.

“The first question is why they will be arrested, because loitering itself is not a crime," said Vice President Robredo. In the police defense, they said they are not arresting tambays. Only those who broke city ordinances.

According to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde , "Out of the 2,984 arrested, 944 were arrested for violating curfew, 653 for drinking in public places or streets, 651 for being half-naked, 456 for smoking in public places and the rest are for traffic codes and other minor offenses."

The streets are where the crimes often happen. While the intention of the directive is to make public safe, the fear lies on how the police took the order and how they arrest people on the street.

In another news story, a group of friends were wrongfully detained in Guadalupe Nuevo while waiting outside their friend's house. When asked about what violation of law they committed, the police asked them back if they're not watching television. The police then showed a video of the president's order on "anti-tambay law." It is illegal to arrest and detain without telling them the crime they supposedly committed.

One of their friends were taking a video so the police let them stay in an office after they were asked to delete the video. They were then released around 2 - 3 a.m.

Tisoy's Death

Tisoy willingly went with the police as his sister recounted when he said that it's because he was shirtless. But the day after he was detained, the police inquested him for alarm and scandal.

If Tisoy was arrested for being shirtless, he should only pay 1000 php and 3 day community service if he's a 1st time offender. But since he was inquested for alarm and scandal, a penalty or fine of not exceeding P200 pesos and imprisonment for 1 to 30 days will be imposed on violators.

In his 4th day of being detained, he was killed. According to the police report, he was "mentally disturbed" and that he was bumping his head to the wall until he died. Death certificate then revealed that Tisoy died of multiple blunt force trauma in the neck, head, chest, and upper extremities.


References/Sources:

'Binaboy nila kapatid ko': Family seeks justice for man allegedly beaten to death in detention.
http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/06/20/18/binaboy-nila-kapatid-ko-family-seeks-justice-for-man-allegedly-beaten-to-death-in-detention. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Duterte on order vs 'tambays': 'Wala namang inaaresto'. http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/20/18/duterte-on-order-vs-tambays-wala-namang-inaaresto . Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Duterte pinaghihigpit ang mga awtoridad laban sa mga tambay. http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/14/18/duterte-pinaghihigpit-ang-mga-awtoridad-laban-sa-mga-tambay.Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Leni Robredo to PNP: 'Loitering not a crime'.
https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/19/1825864/leni-robredo-pnp-loitering-not-crime
. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Tambays? PNP wrongly detains group waiting outside friend's home. https://www.rappler.com/nation/205198-pnp-mistake-friends-outside-house-as-loiterers-tambays . Retrieved 23 June 2018.

Walking naked in QC? Think twice or you'll be fined. https://amp.rappler.com/nation/194872-shirtless-ordinance-quezon-city.

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