2 Makati cops relieved for 'mishandling' arrest of bystanders

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — Two Makati police officers were relieved from their posts for what the Philippine National Police on Tuesday called a "mishandling" of an arrest of bystanders to enforce local laws.

Metro Manila Police Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, in a PNP statement, said he has ordered the police to fasttrack the issue on the "mishandling of people allegedly arrested for violating city ordinances."

This was after a Facebook post went viral over the weekend in which a man complained that he and his friends were arrested by Makati police while waiting for their friend outside his house.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police to uphold ordinances against bystanders who violate local laws.

Police Senior Inspector Aaron Elago, commander of Makati City Police Station Community Precinct 6, and SPO2 James Teano, were ordered relieved following a report of abuse of discretion of authority against them for the arrests.

"(Elago and Teano) brought them to their police precinct for verification even without valid violation of city ordinances," the PNP statement said.

PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde reiterated on Monday that only those violating local laws — not those loitering in the streets — will be arrested. The offenses of those who can be arrested include smoking in public, drinking alcohol in public, loitering half-naked, urinating in public, and minors violating a curfew ordinance.

Albayalde said no one can be arrested because of vagrancy as the law against it was decriminalized in 2012.

The PNP said 2,981 bystanders have been arrested in Metro Manila from June 13 to June 18.

Despite the thousands of arrests made, the PNP said it has yet to finalize a policy that will consolidate all city ordinances to make sure it will be in accordance with local laws.