Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. (DILG Photo)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 4, 2011) – A Filipino mayor who punched a sheriff during a demolition row has gone on a five-day leave to allow government investigation into the violent incident that occurred in Davao City.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was caught on news television videos repeatedly punching Sheriff Abe Andres after on Friday after she failed to stop him carrying out a court order to demolish more than 200 illegal houses in Agdao district.
The mayor said she told the sheriff to hold the demolition for two hours so she can peacefully negotiate with the squatters and prevent a riot. She said the sheriff ignored her appeals and that a riot erupted. One policeman, she said, was shot with a dart on his leg by a rioter.
Andres said his job is only ministerial and that he was just carrying out a legitimate court order which the mayor has no jurisdiction.
Carpio, daughter of former Davao City mayor and now vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte, said she is ready to face the investigation ordered by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Robredo said he was also shocked to see the mayor violently smacked the face of the sheriff.
Duterte, who is now the acting mayor, told her daughter not to apologize to the sheriff. He also blamed the sheriff for the riot.
The court which issued the order stayed the demolition for 10 days.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has condemned the attack on the sheriff and National Prosecutors League of the Philippines said the mayor could be held liable for indirect contempt for stopping the implementation of the demolition order.
CHR Chairwoman Etta Rosales said she watched the news video and was shocked by the mayor’s aggressiveness.
“What shocked me was the aggressiveness of Mayor Duterte. I've spoken to her before and found her to be a very reform-oriented mayor. She impressed me as a matter of fact so it shocked me to see her very aggressive, that she punched...the poor sheriff. What shocked me further is sinundan. After she punched him, the sheriff was not the aggressor but he was the one being held. Parang nasabunutan," she told television news channel ANC.
Rosales said the mayor’s of violence against the sheriff was unjustifiable.
“Once you justify the use of force then it becomes easier to use violence and isn't that our problem, the problem of lack of command responsibility and the problem of impunity? The problem of impunity is reflected both in uniformed and civilian authorities within the bureaucracy and government,” Rosales said.
She said the mayor’s bodyguards should also be held liable for holding down Andres while the mayor continued to punch him. The sheriff was also held by Carpio’s bodyguards as she pulled his hair in front of dozens of policemen who did nothing to stop the politician.
“Andres was not the offender, not the aggressor so parang pinagbigyan nila yung mayor to go on with her punches against the poor government employee so there was abuse of authority here. What was violated was the physical integrity of the employee and his right to due process,” Rosales told ANC. (Midnanao Examiner)