Even tambays have rights PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 June 2018 14:18

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

This administration must be clueless about the economic situation in the country.

I admit it is not just the poor that gather in groups at night on sidewalks or in front of sari-sari stores. It is not just the poor but in most cases, they are generally the ones who congregate in these places. But is it wrong to do so?

If you have spent a day working as a carpenter or a jeepney driver or whatever it is you have to do to earn some money for your family, a few hours spent with friends after working hours,  just shooting the breeze can be relaxing and can give you the impetus to get up in the morning and go through the whole thing all over again. But now it seems that doing just that has just become a criminal activity, because you can wind up in the local jail.

From the little I know about the law a person can be arrested only if it can be shown that there has been probable cause for the police to do so. Perhaps the people in the group, the “tambay” group, have been noisy and rowdy, keeping the neighbors awake and the neighbors have called the police to complain. Perhaps the tambay group has impeded foot traffic along the sidewalk and the police have been asked to clear that patch of public space.  If no complaint has been made, what would be the reason for the police to bring everyone to the station and enjoy accommodation there for the night? From the basis of law I do not see how arresting people in this situation can be justified.

People who live in low-income urban areas do not have the perk of having their own fenced front yard where they can relax and just talk about any topic under the sun ( or under the moon). If they have to be inside the house, as it seems this is what is now being encouraged, how many such families have enough space inside the house to accommodate a few friends? If the family lives in a shanty by an estero, what yard are we even imagining?

I must agree that sometimes the tambay group may not be as innocent as it appears. Perhaps they really  are planning to hold up a bus or a bank in the morning. But unless there is probable cause that this is what is going on there is no justification to haul everyone off to the police station.

Have we become a country where the phrase “rule of law” is something we mouth often enough, is something nice to hear,  but has no substance in our practices? And are we, the citizens of this country, enabling our so-called leaders to get away with what they are doing because we do not protest the blatant disregard for the citizen’s rights?

May the pox visit all those who are responsible for this new tambay issue!