Senator Bam Aquino questioned the government’s decision to continue its campaign against loiterers even without legal basis.
“Maraming mahihirap ang na-agrabyado at namatay pa si Tisoy, bakit pa nila itutuloy?” said Sen. Bam, referring to the death of Genesis “Tisoy” Argoncillo, who died in the custody of the Quezon City Police District.
“Talagang nakakabahala itong pagtutuloy ng kampanya laban sa tambay dahil hanggang ngayon hindi pa nga nalilinaw ang legal basis nito,” Sen. Bam pointed out. “Isa pa, kailangan munang panagutin ang mga umabuso at ayusin ang proseso.”
Sen. Bam made the pronouncement after President Duterte reiterated his order to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ignore critics and continue its campaign against “tambays.” Earlier, the President clarified that he did not order the arrests and that “loitering is not a crime.”
With Duterte’s inconsistent pronouncements, Sen. Bam underscored the need for the Senate to investigate and clarify the matter.
“Sa pabagu-bagong polisiya ng administrasyon sa mga tambay, lalong kailangan imbestigahan ito ng Senado para maklaro,” said Sen. Bam, adding that the public and even the PNP are confused with the government’s conflicting statements on the matter.
Sen. Bam has submitted Senate Resolution No. 772 seeking to investigate the government’s policy against loitering, which he called as discriminatory and anti-poor.
In his resolution, Sen. Bam urged the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, to investigate the matter to protect ordinary Filipinos from unjust, discriminatory and abusive policies and practices.
“There is a need to assess whether the PNP’s anti-tambay campaign, as well as the local ordinances on which they are supposedly based, are consistent with national laws and the Constitution,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam filed the resolution days after Argoncillo died in the custody of the Quezon City Police District. Argoncillo was arrested on June 15 for allegedly causing alarm and scandal, but died four days later.
The PNP issued different statements regarding Argoncillo’s death. First, it claimed that it was due to self-inflicted trauma then changed it to suffocation due to the severe congestion of prison cells.
After Argoncillo’s death certificate revealed that he died from multiple blunt force trauma to his neck, head, chest and upper extremities, the QCPD claimed that he died after he was mauled by fellow inmates.