Probers waiting for complainant against Duterte
MANILA, Philippines—Finding his fate in the hands of a fact-finding team may be a bitter pill to swallow for Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who drew the ire of human rights activists for forcing an alleged con man to swallow the fake land title he reportedly used to dupe his victims.
Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on Friday created a fact-finding team which will include Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) officials from Region 11 “to get to the bottom of the case.”
“I can understand the cries against Duterte’s human-rights violations, but he must also be subjected to the legal process,” Robredo said in a statement.
Robredo noted that no formal complaint had been lodged against Duterte by suspect Manolito Gayas, who was arrested on Monday for allegedly peddling counterfeit documents to squatters in the city and promising them land for just P250.
Eating fake paper
Gayas allegedly duped his victims by claiming to be the owner of a foundation that “owns the entire Philippines,” even presenting a fake Supreme Court decision to support the lie, the DILG said.
On Tuesday, Duterte reportedly visited Gayas inside his detention cell in the city and forced the latter to eat the fake documents.
The incident raised a howl of protest from human rights advocates, including Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales and Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso.
“But we first need to have the formal complaint of Mr. Gayas and the side of Vice Mayor Duterte before we can make our conclusions and recommendations on the matter,” he said.
Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, also made headlines last year when she punched a court sheriff who ignored her request to put off the enforcement of a court order to demolish illegal shanties in the city. She later apologized.