It was chewing gum not paper—DuterteBy Christine O. Avendaño, Germelina Lacorte
Inquirer Mindanao, Philippine Daily Inquirer
DAVAO CITY—Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has a reputation for being a tough city official, has preferred to keep quiet on the investigation being conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) into his forcing an alleged con man to swallow a counterfeit document last week.
“There’s a time for everything. Now is my time to remain silent,” Duterte said on a Sunday television and radio program, when asked about reports that he made Manolito Gavas eat the fake land title he used to convince informal settlers to buy lots in Matina Aplaya for P250.
Gavas, of Bohol, said he was the head of the Veterans Legionnaire of World War II and could claim any vacant lot in the country under a supposed Supreme Court decision.
Police arrested Gavas on Monday last week on charges of malicious mischief, grave threats, trespassing, qualified theft and syndicated estafa for allegedly falsifying public documents, days after he led informal settlers to occupy the lot owned by Victoria Reformina in Victoria Village in Barangay Matina Aplaya.
From his jail cell on Friday, Gavas apologized to Duterte, saying “it will not happen again.”
In explaining the video taken by a television news crew, Duterte told reporters it was chewing gum and not a piece of paper that Gavas was chewing. Duterte said he would give his side at the proper forum.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had formed a fact-finding body to look into the allegations against Duterte.