The Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines Inc (SCOPHIL) on Monday filed a complaint against Davao Mayor Sara Duterte for punching a court sheriff serving a demolition order in Agdao district earlier this month.
In the complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, SCOPHIL members accused Duterte of direct assault and grave misconduct for punching Sheriff Abe Andres last July 1.
The group said they were dismayed that Duterte has shown no remorse for the unjustified attack on one of their members. Duterte has refused to apologize for attacking Andres, saying that she is only answerable to the people of Davao City.
“Duterte is answerable to the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and to the President. And being a lawyer, she owes fealty to the courts, which is her first duty as an officer,” Atty. Ruben Almadro, SCOPHIL spokesman, said.
“More than the physical harm inflicted on Abe, the unprovoked and unjustified attack on him as Sheriff, an officer of the court and one clothed with authority to implement lawful court orders, by a lawyer and another officer of the court, no less, is an assault on the court an an institution,” he added.
Andres earlier refused to file charges against Duterte, and even apologized to the mayor for not heeding her request to delay the demolition for 2 hours.
“Ma’am, pasensya na ho at hindi ko ibinigay ang hinihingi ninyo. Eh pinasa ko naman kay judge. Sana maintidihan niyo na inaantay ko na lang ang advice [galing] kay judge [RTC Judge Emmanuel Carpio] that time,” Andres said.
SCOPHI said it will not sit idly by and watch arrogant powers-that-be make a mockery of the court’s writ and processes. “Otherwise, court proceedings would be farce and the enforcement of final decisions a delusion; judicial independence would be a myth,” it said.
About 100 members of SCOPHIL in Luzon wore black armbands and black shirts during a motorcade before the filing of the case.
They filed the case against Duterte as the injured parties in the recent violent attack against Andres.
‘Mayor didn’t talk to sheriff’
Almadro revealed that Duterte did not personally talk to Andres to request a 2-hour delay of the Agdao district demolition.
He said the information was relayed by Andres during their meeting in General Santos City last Saturday.
“Mayor Duterte did not personally talk to Abe to request a two-hour delay of the demolition. Abe only learned from a staff of the Mayor that such a request had been made by the Mayor directly with Judge Emmanuel Carpio, the presiding Judge of Branch 16 of the Davao RTC who issued the writ of demolition,” he said.
The SCOPHIL spokesman said the group will respect Andres’ decision not to file a case against the Davao mayor.
“We respect his decision but this does not detract from out resolve to seek justice for what happened on July 1,” he said.
He urged the DILG to fast-track its investigation. He said the DILG should file appropriate charges against Duterte as well as her bodygurds who chased and manhandled Andres.
The group also wants DILG to censure Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Councilor Paolo Duterte for cursing and flashing the dirty finger at the mayor’s critics. The incident was captured on national television.
In a separate press statement, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said the results of their fact-finding investigation will be submitted to Malacanang this weekend.
He said a corresponding recommendation will also be attached.
He said a team of lawyers tasked to investigate the matter went back to Davao City on Thursday to get more statements.
Robredo stressed, however, that the department could not file charges since it cannot act as complainant and investigator at the same time.
“It would be contrary to proper procedures if the complaint will come from our end, because our role is to investigate and submit the necessary recommendations to the President,” he said. ABS/CBN