“Rody said the obligation of the government to protect its citizens is paramount and that no arrest is being made in the police operations.”
President Rodrigo Duterte’s tussle with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) over the government’s drive vs street loafers citing parens patriae shows that his acts, harsh as they may look to some, are always based on law.
The head of the IBP, which is the umbrella group of lawyers in the country, said the campaign was illegal.
Duterte, who has been a long-time prosecutor in Davao City, immediately shot back at Abdiel Fajardo, IBP national president, invoking the parens patriae doctrine in which the State has the obligation to be a guardian to citizens who are not capable of fending for themselves.
The State, in going after the loiterers, are protecting them from becoming unproductive members of society or worse, taking the road to perdition as criminals based on Rody’s argument.
The IBP had joined human rights groups in protesting the drive, saying that it is tantamount to undertaking warrantless arrests.
Fajardo said the verbal orders in the arrests of loiterers is illegal since a document is needed stating the nature of the offense as the basis of the arrest.
Fajardo said the actions on loiterers are considered arrests and not invitations since those who are rounded up cannot refuse being brought to the police stations.
Rody said the obligation of the government to protect its citizens is paramount and that no arrest is being made in the police operations since the tambays are all released later.
He even invited the IBP to challenge the campaign with the Supreme Court.
“You not — do not deprive government of its power and reduce us to inutility. We are both lawyers. Let’s see who has more knowledge of the law,” Duterte said.
Parens patriae, according to Rody, is a “very sacred obligation of government to help the helpless.”
“Tambays are being used for criminal activities.”
The helpless as Rody would have it are those who hang out on the streets all day, which, indeed, is the worst that can happen to a nation in terms of the use of its manpower needed to drive the economy.
“Because of their tender age, we are not going to arrest them. We have to take them out physically,” he added.
The worry of most, including Rody, is that the tambays who are mostly minors are being used for criminal activities such as making them drug couriers often with support from their parents.
Duterte, as he would often cite in his many past speeches, said it is the government’s duty to protect the people of the Republic of the Philippines and preserve the nation.
The still high trust and performance ratings of Rody based on the periodic surveys are the result of his resolute actions against crime and the condition that encourages it to breed such as disorder on the streets.
Always, however, human rights and other civic groups would be constantly at his back using arguments supplied by the yellow mob.
Rody’s simple but effective vow that handed him the trust of voters and the presidency was to make the country’s streets safe for citizens to walk on even at night.
In Metro Manila, if not for several roadworks that limit travel, the volume of vehicles traveling at night, even beyond midnight, had remarkably increased, indicating that more people are going out.
Unlike past leaders who used similar promises to put order on the streets as sound bites and part of the usual campaign rhetorics, Rody chose to act on it.
The results are evident from the unrelenting public support being given to Rody.
It is not rocket science to understand Rody’s choice between listening to his yellow critics and to continue performing the mandate given to him.