By Martin Sadongdong
A total of 71,936 individuals who violated various city ordinances in Metro Manila have been arrested by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), its top police official announced on Friday.
NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar said the data was recorded from June 13, the day when President Duterte ordered the police to arrest “tambays,” to 5 a.m. Friday. However, he added that only 22 individuals remained in jail as of this writing.
Of the number, 26,083 individuals (36.26 percent) who were caught smoking in public places were nabbed, followed by 10,405 minors (14.46 percent) who violated the curfew hours.
Furthermore, 10,224 persons (14.21 percent) were caught loitering the streets without their shirts on (half-naked) while 7,565 more (10.52 percent) were caught drinking in public places. Some 17,659 individuals were also nabbed for violating other local ordinances such as urinating in public places, use of karaoke on the wee hours of the night, illegal barking, and traffic-related rules.
Despite the big volume of arrests, Eleazar said only 22 violators remained under police custody as others were only warned, and have paid fines or conducted community service.
He also bared that they have initiated dialogues with city prosecutors to determine how to decongest detention facilities in Metro Manila.
“Last Wednesday, we invited some city prosecutors to discuss these local ordinances, as well as legal remedies on how to decongest jail facilities. In QCPD [Quezon City Police District] I also attended one where some judges were invited. Remember, only the judge can give the sentence under the law,” he said in Filipino in a “Pandesal Forum” held in Quezon City.
Eleazar noted that the problem on jail decongestion usually occurs due to the slow resolution and issuance of sentence form the judge to the detained violators.
“The problem is before violators are sentenced, police will detain them. That is the reason why I gave a guidance to ground commanders to use their sound judgment before detaining the violators,” Eleazar stated.
“The usual process would be: The violator will be brought to the local police station for documentation. If they found out that the violator was a first-timer, give a warning,” he said.
As for repeaters and other grave offenses, like “tambays” who possess bladed and dangerous weapons, Eleazar said they either will be fined or be detained.
In fact, Eleazar said 43,613 individuals (60.63 percent) were only warned after their arrest; 20,439 (28.41 percent) were fined; and 7,884 (10.96 percent) were charged. Only 12 individuals remain under police custody of the Southern Police District (SPD) while 10 more were at the detention facilities of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
Most, least arrests
The Eastern Police District (EPD) still has the most number of arrests with 33, 594 (46.70 percent); followed by SPD with 12,184 (16.94 percent), Manila Police District (MPD) with 11,539 (16.04 percent); and QCPD with 7,957 (11.06 percent).
The Northern Police District (NPD) has the least number of arrests with 6,662 (9.26 percent).
Eleazar reiterated that the intensified operation against violators of local ordinances are being conducted to curb street crimes.
“This is very important because we want to make the public feel safe, especially at night. We cannot deny the fact that there are cases where individuals are being victimized by “tambays,” those who want to create trouble just because they want to,” he said.
He further vowed that the intensified operations against city ordinance violators will continue, but in adherence to the rule of law and with respect to human rights.