No alliances in Duterte probe

Subscribe Now July 02, 2011 at 08:42pm

Malacañang assured Saturday the investigation of the assault by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on a court sheriff last Friday will be fair. Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte made the assurance to dispel speculations that the Palace will side with Duterte, whose family is known as allies of the administration.

Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo said last Friday his department will conduct a fact-finding inquiry into the incident.

The mayor, who is the daughter of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, punched Sheriff Abe Andres of Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court Branch (RTC) who had ordered the demolition of several squatters’ houses in Purok Soliman in Barangay Monteverde, Agdao district.

Duterte was incensed because Andres had gone ahead with the demolition despite agreeing earlier to the mayor’s request to delay it for two hours.

Andres explained he was just carrying out the court’s orders.

“We’ve seen from the action taken by Secretary Robredo that it’s not a matter of alliances or perceived misunderstandings or enemies,” Valte said in a radio interview. “We will be fair. An investigation has been initiated by the DILG and as such, we would observe the process and we would hold our (comment) – we do not wish to give an impression that it might be prejudged or biased.”

The spokesman made it clear that Duterte could still face administrative charges, even if the sheriff had refused to file criminal charges against her.

Valte said the DILG inquiry will eventually will go up to President Benigno S. Aquino III for a final decision. “So we will not comment, lest we be perceived as prejudging the case yet,” she said.

The demolition triggered a stone-throwing melee that resulted in the wounding of 10 residents including a 12-year-old girl.

Duterte said she had pleaded with the sheriff to delay the demolition for a couple of hours so she could talk to the residents and avoid violence.

“I did not say I want to stop the demolition. All I want was for him to conduct an orderly demolition to avoid violence,” she said.

The mayor said she would take responsibility for her action. She also denied that she sent an emissary to apologize to Andres.


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