The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) stand together with the broad democratic sectors in denouncing the Duterte regime’s latest wholesale violation of human rights – the so-called “tambay” crackdown. This latest move serves as a double-edged sword for the burgeoning autocrat – claiming for himself excessive powers to incarcerate whoever his regime wants to, while raising the climate of fear as the police force run roughshod with impunity over the people’s fundamental rights, including the right against illegal arrests and illegal search and seizure.
By arbitrarily arresting citizens without cause, the “tambay” crackdown serves as a blanket warrant for everyone who opposes the Duterte regime’s tyrannical moves. It is this cheap dictator wannabe’s way of forcefully saying “Martial Law is here” without actually making an official declaration.
Flexing his autocratic muscles, Duterte ordered the crackdown against supposed “tambays” just a little more than a week ago. Since then, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) swiftly followed the president’s words to the letter, arresting more than 7,000 individuals in a week or about a thousand arrests per day.
With this brazen move, Duterte has once again outrightly disregarded even reactionary laws, considering that vagrancy has already been decriminalized in 2012.
The “tambay” crackdown, which in past days have resulted in the arrests of unsuspecting Filipinos, including workers and students who were only standing at the wrong place at the wrong time, is a rehearsal for the nationwide implementation of martial law. Duterte is again testing the waters in employing autocratic powers. If his dictatorial moves are not met with strong resistance he cannot quell, he will inevitably turn his use of force a notch higher.
Moreover, this fascist move – which up to this point has not only victimized workers and students, but mostly the poor, the homeless, the jobless, and the out-of-school youth – is patently anti- poor as it not only violates the rights of the downtrodden but also obscures their widespread problems of joblessness, homelessness, high cost of education and spiralling prices. For the Duterte regime’s playbook, any problem that it can’t solve can be taken cared of by either incarceration or death.