By ROGER M. BALANZA
cartoon by rOgerb.
Vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to court sheriffs to a debate over the legality of the demolition of urban poor shanties in Soliman street in Agdao district has fallen on deaf ears.
Throughout the week since he hurled the challenge without a single sheriff standing up to face him in a verbal joust, Duterte pressed on his stand the demolition violated provisions of Section 8 of RA 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) which mandated requirements before demolitions or evictions could be carried out.
The sheriffs however found a sounding board in media, by elaborating on their position without clashing head-on with Duterte in a face-to-face encounter.
In media reports, a sheriff group here claimed 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 Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) in Manila has filed charges of direct assault against the mayor.
“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,” Scophil-Davao chapter president Sergio Tupas said when asked to comment on the UDHA provision that requires good weather for a court-ordered demolition to be implemented.
At the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN on Sunday, Duterte smirked at this claim.
He said that July 1 fell during a week when Davao City was being pounded by heavy rains, even as the sky was clear in Agdao on July 1 when the demolition was about to be carried out.
Two days before the demolition on Soliman street, a killer flood swept through four barangays in the southern part of the city killing 30 people.
In the program, Duterte reechoed provisions of UDHA that made the demolition illegal.
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.
Tupas said the Socophil chapter in Davao has nothing to do with the case filed by their colleagues in Manila against Mayor Duterte.