NY Times - Having a Beer Can Now Land You in Jail (in The Philippines)

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https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/in-duterte’s-philippines-having-a-beer-can-now-land-you-in-jail/ar-BBKUter?li=AAb280R&ocid=spartandhp

In Duterte’s Philippines, Having a Beer Can Now Land You in Jail

MANILA — When six plainclothes policemen, hands gripping their holstered guns, charged down the winding alleys of the slum where Edwin Panis lives, he didn’t imagine they could be coming for him.

Mr. Panis, 45, was drinking beer with friends near his shack on an embankment overlooking Manila Bay. A stevedore and neighborhood security officer, he hardly fit the profile of the drug addicts and dealers who have been targeted by the police since President Rodrigo Duterte took office — a bloody crackdown that Mr. Panis, like many Filipinos, supported.

But in moments, he and his three friends were under arrest, hands cuffed behind their backs. Their offense: drinking beer in public.

“The war on drugs has become a war on drunks,” Mr. Panis said bitterly, days after his release from an overcrowded cell.

Two years into Mr. Duterte’s term, after thousands of killings by police officers and vigilantes in his crackdown on narcotics, the government’s campaign against crime has taken a new turn.

Last month, Mr. Duterte authorized the national police to start arresting people for infractions like drinking in the streets, public urination or even being outdoors without a shirt — violations that were previously dealt with by neighborhood security officers like Mr. Panis.

Since then, more than 50,000 people have been rounded up for such minor offenses.

There has not been bloodshed of the kind seen in Mr. Duterte’s crackdown on drugs, though at least one detainee has died in police custody. Still, in Manila’s slums, where most of the drug war killings have taken place, many now fear that the smallest infraction might cost them their lives.

“There’s no way not to be scared,” said Amy Jane Pablo, 37, who lives near Mr. Panis in the Tondo slum and witnessed his arrest.

In a speech in early June, after the high-profile killings of a pregnant lawyer in the Manila area and a priest who was shot dead in a small-town church, Mr. Duterte said there were “simply too many crimes” and promised “radical changes in the days to come.” Days later, he said that people idling in the streets were “potential trouble for the public.”

The crackdown began immediately afterward. Within a week, the national police had arrested 7,000 people — Mr. Panis among them — for loitering, public drinking and other alleged violations of neighborhood ordinances.

Mr. Duterte’s new policy has similarities to the “broken windows” approach to policing adopted a generation ago by some American cities, which held that cracking down visibly on minor infractions would lead to a drop in major crimes. Inspector Adonis Sugui, the chief investigator at the Tondo police station, defended the campaign, saying that “most of our crimes start with drinking in public places.”

“They have a drink, they hold people up, shoot each other, cause mischief,” Mr. Sugui said. “President Duterte is right. Once they start drinking, their mind is altered.”

Carlos Conde, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Manila, said the campaign amounted to “expanding the drug war to other crimes, using the same methods — just brute police force.”

“They’re saying we committed crimes, even if we didn’t,” Ms. Pablo, Mr. Panis’s neighbor, said on her doorstep, just across a narrow alley from where the arrest happened. “They’re just plucking people off the street.”

After his arrest, Mr. Panis was put into an outdoor cell so crowded that he spent the night on his feet, leaning against a few dozen other men who had been detained. The next day, they were bused to City Hall for a hearing and then released, told to wait for a subpoena to appear in court.

“If they don’t like what you’re doing, they arrest you,” Mr. Panis said.

Some have compared the crackdown to martial law — a sensitive subject in the Philippines, where the years of military rule under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos are still remembered. Mr. Duterte, an admirer of Mr. Marcos, imposed martial law in the southern Philippines after an Islamist uprising last year.

Mr. Duterte’s new crackdown is not martial law, which would involve the suspension of normal law and the imposition of military rule. Still, Jose Manuel Diokno, dean of the De La Salle University College of Law in Manila, said the comparison was “very apt.”

He said martial law under Mr. Marcos, which lasted from 1972 to 1981, began with the enforcement of “ridiculous rules.” Men with long hair had their heads forcibly shaved and people who violated curfew were caught and punished.

“It ended with the arrest, torture, detention and disappearance of so many young people who were branded as enemies of the state,” Mr. Diokno said.

On a recent Friday night in Don Bosco, a neighborhood in Tondo, eight policemen on motorcycles patrolled the densely packed slum. Its residents live as much in the alleys as in their cramped, often makeshift homes, and they were outdoors late into the night, playing bingo, singing karaoke, cooking and otherwise whiling away the hours.

The officers told children to go home, and they chased down men who had gathered around bottles of beer or gin. Within half an hour, they had picked up two men for not wearing shirts and four others for drinking on their doorsteps.

“I’m just cooling off, sir,” one shirtless man protested meekly, before an officer ordered him onto the back of a motorcycle to be taken to the police station.

There has been strong public opposition to the crackdown, fueled in part by what appeared to be particularly egregious arrests. A closed-circuit video of the police arresting a man who had briefly stepped outdoors without a shirt went viral.

[Video: A video of a man being arrested for stepping outside while shirtless. Watch on YouTube.]

The death in custody of another man arrested for being shirtless — the specific offense is “causing alarm and scandal” — has led to calls for a Senate investigation. The police initially said the man, Genesis Argoncillo, 25, who was arrested just outside his home, had suffocated because his cell was overcrowded.

But a photo of the corpse showed severe bruising, and an autopsy confirmed that he had died of blunt force trauma. Inmates later said Mr. Argoncillo had been beaten by other prisoners, and that he had lain on the floor for several hours before being brought to a hospital. Two inmates have been charged with his murder.

Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police, fired some officers who were involved in highly publicized incidents, but he said the crackdown would continue.

After the backlash against the campaign began, Mr. Duterte said that arresting loiterers was “foolish” and that he had not ordered the police to do so. He said he had merely told them to break up their gatherings. (The police, who had been calling the campaign Operation Loiterer, promptly changed its name.)

Mr. Diokno, the lawyer, called Mr. Duterte’s backtracking an example of his tactics of obfuscation.

“It just shows the naked truth about the kind of power that he’s wielding. It’s not a power based on law but a power based on fear and violence,” Mr. Diokno said, warning of “dark days” ahead.

“I think you can expect more repression, more confusion, more contradictory statements from the president,” he said. “To the point that even his own people will not be sure what they should be doing.”

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I wonder if public place includes the open walled nippas in gated subdivisions where the neighbours all gather on a daily basis?  

This is becoming a very slippery slope.  What's next?  Curfews and gatherings of more than 4 people?  

One wonders what he'll do if he loses the next election...  Given the support members of the Marcos family have received in recent elections it appears Filipinos have very short memories.

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Posted
2 hours ago, Rooster said:

“most of our crimes start with drinking in public places.”

I would counter that most of EVERYTHING begins with drinking in public places.  It is the social custom to drink in public places.  Only alcoholics and recluses drink alone.

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Something to consider, and I will try real hard to stay non-political, but keep in mind that the NY Times is a left leaning newspaper, whose editorial board does not like D30. Notice the story morphed into the shirtless law and the war on drugs. They are a big supporter of the UN and the counsel on human rights. 

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43 minutes ago, scott h said:

Something to consider, and I will try real hard to stay non-political, but keep in mind that the NY Times is a left leaning newspaper, whose editorial board does not like D30. Notice the story morphed into the shirtless law and the war on drugs. They are a big supporter of the UN and the counsel on human rights. 

Also, something they failed to mention is U.S. No drinking in public laws.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/where-you-can-drink-in-public_n_4453212.html

And in places where one must wear a shirt and no urinating in public laws where in some states one is also added to the sex offender database for urinating in public. 

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Its not new news and we have discussed it before but anyway for those who copy and paste news stories please paste as plain text which then the forums settings such as default text size work and all those links in the post that should not be on this forum will disappear.  It even shows in the editor as soon as you paste rich text the words appear which say something like posted as rich text with the option to change to plain text.  :thumbsup:

 

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8 hours ago, Rooster said:

Also, something they failed to mention is U.S. No drinking in public laws.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/16/where-you-can-drink-in-public_n_4453212.html

And in places where one must wear a shirt and no urinating in public laws where in some states one is also added to the sex offender database for urinating in public. 

Yes, NY Times always has an agenda and thus will leave out logical comparisons.  I remember getting at least 2 tickets for open container on the beach area where I lived, when I was younger.  Very few places in the U.S. where you can walk around and drink.

I don't support DU30 on everything but at least he is trying to clean up some of the things that keep PH a third world country.

Edit:  For some reason I thought the guy was a foreigner.

I wonder why that foreigner was living in that area.  Suspicious.

Edited by OnMyWay
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I read pretty much the same article in the local paper here in Iloilo.  Of course the shirtless guy that was murdered in jail was from Iloilo - so D gets very little support here.

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Feelings about the NY Times aside, the guy, who is a tanod, was drinking outside near his "shack" with a couple of his buddies. The police seem to have had to go out of their way to get him ("through the winding alleys"). 

As we know, here any excuse can be made to arrest someone. The better the excuse, though, the more innocent and untraceable the real reason is. It sounds like this fellow made someone mad. The rest of the story is background, mostly, for an American audience mostly disinterested in anything outside of their own patch. 

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I've heard that about having a beer. But only if you caught outside your house late 

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