MANILA - Three in 5 Filipinos believe that the arrest of "tambays" or loiterers violates their rights, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Sunday.
President Rodrigo Duterte in June directed the police to strictly enforce city laws, especially against loiterers, whom he described as "potential trouble for the public."
Of 1,200 adults polled, 60 percent agreed that "police arresting idlers or ‘tambays’ is a violation of their human rights," the SWS said in a statement.
Twenty-six percent disagreed with the statement while the remaining 14 percent were undecided, it added.
The percentage of those who disagreed subtracted from those who agreed gives a net agreement score of +34, which is classified as "strong", the SWS said.
Some 177,000 people were arrested for disobeying local ordinances in Metro Manila from June 13 to August 26, police earlier said.
The police campaign drew criticism after Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo, who was arrested for violating a local law in Quezon City, was beaten to death while in police custody.
Quezon City police officials claimed that the 22-year-old Argoncillo was mauled by other detainees.
His supposed beating is contrary to the Quezon City Police District's earlier claim that he may have died from suffocation and the police station commander's separate allegation that his death was "self-inflicted."
Police removed 9 officers from their posts over the incident, but refused to shelve the campaign. Malacañang, meanwhile, welcomed investigations into the drive.
Net agreement that the arrest of tambays is a violation of their human rights is highest in Mindanao at strong +48, followed by Visayas at strong +32, Metro Manila at strong +30, and Balance Luzon at moderate +29, said SWS.
The same survey found that 58 percent believe policemen do not discriminate based on class when arresting loiterers, while 40 percent said only the poor would be arrested and 2 percent say only the rich would be arrested.
The survey also found that 68 percent of adults are worried that they themselves or anyone they know would be arrested for loitering. Thirty-two percent said otherwise.
The proportion of those who are worried over the arrest is highest in Metro Manila at 78 percent, followed by Visayas at 73 percent, Balance Luzon at 67 percent , and Mindanao at 59 percent.
The non-commissioned poll as conducted from June 27 to 30. It has a ±3 percent margin of error for national figures and ±6 each for regional figures.
Under the SWS scale, a score of at least 10 qualifies as "moderate" agreement while ratings 30 above are "strong" and marks 50 above are "very strong."