by ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte has raised to a higher level his defense of daughter Mayor Sara Duterte, by challening to a debate members of an association of court sheriffs, which filed assault and abuse of power charges against the lady mayor, in connection with her punching of court sheriff Abe Andres on July 1.
This developed as Sunstar Davao reported that a group of sheriffs in Davao City insisted that no law was violated in the serving of a writ of demolition to illegal settlers in Agdao district on July 1 that saw court sheriff Abe Andres being punched by Mayor Sara Duterte.
“The state of the weather at that time is still questionable. It will still depend if Agdao has been placed under the state of calamity,” Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) Davao chapter president Sergio Tupas said when asked to comment on the provision of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (Udha) that requires good weather for a court-ordered demolition to be implemented.
Under Article VII Section 28 of Udha, among the requirements for the execution of a court-ordered demolition of settlements are:
(1) Notice upon the effected persons or entities at least 30 days prior to the date of eviction or demolition;
(2) Adequate consultations on the matter of settlement with the duly designated representatives of the families to be resettled and the affected communities in the areas where they are to be relocated;
(3) Presence of local government officials or their representatives during eviction or demolition;
(4) Proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition;
(5) Execution of eviction or demolition only during regular office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather, unless the affected families consent otherwise…
There was no provision that defines good weather to mean that there is no state of calamity.
Tupas admitted it was their first time to encounter someone who questions their implementation of a court order.
But having said that, Tupas said they are distancing themselves from commenting on the direct assault case filed by their colleagues in Manila.
“Sila (referring to Scophil) na bahala ato. Mag depende ra mi sa ila,” Tupas said.
Tupas also expressed his dismay over the punching incident because it has tarnished the trust of the public on all sheriffs in general.
He said it might affect their job as representatives of the court when in field.
Sheriff Abe Andres is still on leave and will report back for work Thursday.
He is accused of serving the writ of demolition in a contested settlement area in Soliman with undue haste because while it has been agreed that the demolition will push through, he did not see any reason to wait for Mayor Duterte to be present.
Mayor Duterte was asking for a two-hour reprieve so she can be at the site.
Incidentally, as Section 28 (3) states, the presence of local government officials or their representatives is also a requirement in the implementation of a demolition order.