By Aaron Recuenco
Almost 200,000 people have been either fined or charged since police intensified the campaign against loiterers, or tambay, in Metro Manila since June this year.
Director Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said most of those arrested however were just warned being first offenders of several ordinances in Metro Manila which include smoking ban, being topless while hanging out of their homes and drinking in public places.
“There were 362,039 violators who were warned. This represents 66.55 percent of the total number of arrested which is 543,999 since June 13 this year,” said Eleazar.
Of those arrested, Eleazar said 107,628 people paid the corresponding fine for their violations. On the other hand, a total of 74,332 were charged.
The payment of fine or filing of charges depends on the offenses and in almost all cases, first-time offenders were just being warned.
Most of those just being warned are violators of curfew for minors. A total of 33,590 minors were apprehended for violations of curfew.
Eleazar said the rule is that all those arrested must be promptly released, except for those who would turn out to be subjects of arrest warrants.
In fact, he said only seven people remain at the police station jails out of the more than 500,000 arrested since June 13. The release of the seven people who remain in jail were delayed due to some documentary compliance problems.
The NCRPO has intensified the campaign against loiterers, initially called anti-tambay operations until it was heavily criticized. Loiterers, police said, are usually the cause of trouble, especially those drinking in public places.
Based on the PNP data, smoking ban remains the top violations with almost 150,000 arrested while the Quezon City Police District remains the top performer with 318,676 people arrested.