08 July 2011

A Mayor's Wrath

Just as when an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) resulting in a thunderstorm plagued Mindanao—particularly in Surigao, Agusan, and Davao—a court sheriff insisted on the demolition of houses in Barangay Soliman, Agdao, Davao.

This angered Mayor Sara Duterte. She hit Sheriff Abe Andres in his left eye, and punched him for three times more in his face.

Andres explained that he was just doing his job. Judge Emmanuel Carpio of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 16) had supported Jaime Uy of the Davao Enterprise Corporation. The lot in Barangay Soliman must be cleared.

The United Settlers Association appealed the court order. Its lawyer was not able to file the motion, though, until the day of the demolition itself.

So the demolition team advanced. The residents put up a fight. There was a court order. There were 217 families who would lose shelter in the midst of flash floods and rain.

Mayor Duterte asked the demolition team to suspend the execution of the court order for at least two more hours. As the officer-in-charge of Davao, she is duty-bound to control its executive and administrative functions; enforce its laws and ordinances; safeguard its property and rights; ensure collection of taxes; protect its interest; see that its other employees perform their duties; examine its records at least once a year; recommend measures; represent it; and deliberate over the appropriateness of a petition, complaint, or claim, among others. The demolition would just bring bloodshed.

Andres insisted on carrying out the notice of eviction to avoid suspension. Three years ago, he got suspended for ‘failing to live up to the standards required of his position’ in line with the Republic Act 3019.

Businessman Kenneth Hao had complained against him after Andres seized nine motor vehicles ‘accompanied by unidentified armed personnel on board a military vehicle’. He was finally charged negligent and careless in July 8, 2008.

Both then were just doing their job. Some might not agree with how Mayor Duterte protected her people; some might not agree with how Sheriff Andres performed his job. But the issue is more about the judicial process in the country, and how its people obey its laws.


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