Sheriffs file raps vs Davao mayor

Subscribe Now July 12, 2011 at 12:00am

The Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (SCOPHIL) filed direct assault and grave misconduct charges against Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte with the Office of the Ombudsman late yesterday afternoon. The complaint was filed after Duterte, assisted by bodyguards, beat up a court sheriff who was serving a demolition order on informal settlers in Davao City last July 1.

Duterte was caught on television repeatedly punching sheriff Abe Andres for allegedly refusing to delay the demolition for two hours.

Lawyer Rawnsle Lopez, spokesperson for acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, said the anti-graft agency has received the criminal and administrative complaint.

She said the Office of the Ombudsman takes cognizance that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has undertaken the necessary investigation of the incident.

“Presently, the complaint is being evaluated by the officer-of-the-day,” Lopez said, explaining that Duterte, who went on leave after the incident, has refused to even apologize to Andres who, for his part, opted not to file charges.

Duterte’s father, former mayor and now Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is now the acting mayor.

He is also being criticized for siding with his daughter and even giving critics the “dirty finger” on national television.

“While we respect Abe’s personal decision not to file any case against Mayor Duterte, we will not sit idly by and watch arrogant powers-that-be make a mockery of the court’s writs and processes. Otherwise, court proceedings would be a farce and the enforcement of final decisions a delusion; judicial independence would be a myth,” SCOPHIL said in a statement.

The group said Duterte’s punching of Andres, who was just then implementing a demolition order, was “unprovoked and unjustified.”

The sheriffs also urged Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to fast-track the investigation of the July 1 incident and file charges against Duterte and her bodyguards.

They also asked Robredo to investigate Vice Mayor Duterte and Councilor Paolo Duterte over their pronouncements concerning the incident.

“We are not unmindful that the incident has a social dimension and should not be viewed in isolation,” they said.

“But if a local chief executive - who is supposed to enforce the law - herself breaks the law and proclaims to the whole world that she is answerable to no one but her constituency, what are we to make of such pronouncements?” they asked.

In a week’s time

Robredo vowed to submit to President Aquino within the week the results of the fact-finding investigation on Mayor Duterte’s assault on the court sheriff.

“Hopefully within the week, we can forward our report to the President with our corresponding recommendations,” Robredo said.

Robredo said the DILG lawyers had to return to Davao City last Thursday to get the statements of other witnesses in order to come up with a more comprehensive report on Duterte’s possible liability for punching court sheriff Andres.

Robredo also said that the Office of the President and the DILG have yet to receive a formal complaint or administrative charge from Andres or from any concerned party against the mayor.

“While there was a protest action in front of the DILG regional office and we have also heard of several complaints, still, up to this time, nobody has come forward to lodge formal charges against Mayor Duterte,” said Robredo.

The DILG secretary also pointed out that the department cannot file the charges against the mayor because it cannot act as the complainant, investigator and body to recommend sanctions all at the same time.


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