Mayor Sara Duterte has apologized to Davao city court sheriff Abe Andres who suffered the ignominy of taking mayoral punches to the face.
I wanted to extend my apology to Abe Andres, said the mayor a year after the July 29 incident that sparked both praise and censure for the lady mayor.
Mayor Duterte punched Andres to the face after he refused her plea to stop a court-ordered demolition of urban poor shanties in Soliman, Agdao District in Davao City on June 29 last year.
The scene was captured in video by local television news crews and was widely played up in Philippine and international television like CNN.
Mayor Duterte rushed up to Soliman over a report that the settlers were in a violent mood to stop the demolition.
She pleaded with Andres, who was supervising the demolition, to give her two hours to secure a stay order from the court but the sheriff refused and ordered the demolition to proceed.
Angered, Mayor Duterte mauled Andres.
Mayor Duterte due to the mauling incident faced charges before the Ombudsman, the Supreme Court (the mayor is a lawyer) and the Departrment of Interior and Local Government.
After saying sorry to Andres through the media during an interview at City Hall, Mayor Duterte vowed never to lose her tempers again if faced with a similar incident.
But her father, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, was worried as a recent ruling by the court upheld the demolition order.
To abort a similar mauling incident, Vice Mayor Duterte had gone to Soliman to advise the settlers not to oppose another demolition order.
Vice Mayor Duterte said he went to the “scene-of-the-crime” of his daughter’s fury and told the settlers that he and Mayor Duterte may no longer be able to help them as they would risk being slapped with contempt of court if they intervene, the court decision being final.
I told them that we must follow the law and avoid any breakdown of violence, he said.
He said that he assured that the government would help them in their relocation.
Legally, the settlers lost their case, said the vice mayor. ROGER M. BALANZA