Malacañang assures campaign vs 'tambays' not prelude to Martial Law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public that the intensive campaign against "tambays" [idlers] will not lead to the declaration of Martial Law in the country.

"Malinaw po ang sinabi na ng Presidente [The President's pronouncement is clear], 'Martial law in the entire Philippines will become very complicated.' He has absolutely no intentions right now unless there would be reasons to do so," Roque said on Tuesday during a press conference in Cotabato City.

Roque also said that citizens are also protected by existing laws.

"Nariyan iyong ating Bill of Rights [The bill of rights is there]," he said.

"So kinakailangan kapag nag-aresto sampahan sila ng kaso at kung hindi sila sasampahan within the prescribed number of hours dapat palayain [So if a person is arrested, a case should be filed. And if there is no case within the prescribed number of hours, they should be freed]," he added.

READ: Metro Manila police arrest almost 3,000 'tambays' for violating ordinances

Metro Manila Police Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, in a statement, said he has ordered the police to fasttrack the issue on the "mishandling of people allegedly arrested for violating city ordinances."

This was after a Facebook post went viral over the weekend in which a man complained that he and his friends were arrested by Makati police while waiting for their friend outside his house.

President Rodrigo Duterte on June 13 told the police to be strict against loitering on the streets because "they are potential trouble for the public."