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Police detain gay couple for ‘loitering’ in the Philippines

Police detain gay couple for ‘loitering’ in the Philippines

New research shows LGBTI students in the Philippines face high rates of discrimination.

A man in the Philippines has gone public with police detained him, his partner and some friends for ‘loitering’,

Ttam Nanaramid and his friends were waiting outside a friend’s apartment for her to get ready before they went out to a local bar. They had gathered at Makti in Metro Manila on Saturday 16 June.

‘So while we were texting whilst waiting, there were policemen coming towards us,’ Nanaramid wrote on Facebook.

‘My partner and I were not even paying attention… and the police approached us and told us to get in the police car because we could not ‘hang out’ there.’

At about 11pm police took the group of six to the Guadalupe Nuevo Station 7 in Metro Manila and threw them into a jail cell.

‘We were quite anxious the moment they opened the cell. There were already people inside the cell and they were really horny and drunk. We’re all quite stressed out inside,’ Nanaramid wrote.

One of the group who is a law student started pressing police about why they were put in jail.

Once the police Major arrived he said to them ‘Don’t you watch TV?’. The Major was referring to a new command from President Rodrigo Duterte to round up ‘tambays’ (loiterers).

‘As long as the president says it, then it is law,’ the Major told the group.

Tambays

The anti-tambay order has seen more than 3,000 people arrested for loitering in Metro Manila alone since the President issued his decree on 13 June.

Duterte’s tambay decree comes among many of his controversial decisions, including the bloody war on drugs. His two-year war on drugs has seen more than 12,000 suspected drug users and dealers killed without trial. 

Makati City police chief Senior Superintendent Rogelio Simon dismissed the serious nature of the group’s detention.

Simon told Rappler police detained the group because there had been a report of drug users in the area. When police asked the group to accompany them to the station, they obliged.

But Simon admitted police had ‘profiled’ the group. Profiling is when police record criminal suspects’ names and contact details to use in future.

Loitering is not against the law in the Philippines, after the government decriminalized it in 2012.

The arbitrary detention of the alleged ‘tambays’ has greatly upset Nanaramid. He questioned how police could fairly determine who was a tambay.

‘If they see you drinking soda outside the store, is that it? If they see you sitting in the gutter of the road because you’re heavy, do you think it’s a hangout? If they find you waiting in the waiting car waiting for the car, is that it? What is the true and clear meaning and measurement of tambay?’ he wrote.

What about our human rights?

Nanaramid and his friends, including his partner, were release some time between 2 and 3 am. The group left feeling tired, hungry, upset and violated after their police detention.

‘I do not even know what lesson learned in this story and I still don’t know what’s wrong with waiting outside a house,’ he wrote.

‘After that I do not feel safe and comfortable going anywhere and I am not sure if they have violated (our human rights).