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Davao judge ‘shoots’ the sheriff

Demolition was illegal, says judge who ordered it
/ 12:41 AM July 09, 2011

DAVAO CITY—Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whose daughter Mayor Sara Duterte is under fire for punching a sheriff implementing a court demolition order, has found an ally in Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Isaac Robillo.

Citing Republic Act No. 7279, Judge Robillo said the vice mayor was correct when he said the July 1 demolition fell short of the 30-day notice required by law.

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“Palagay ko (I think) he is correct,” Robillo said, as he browsed through the only copy of RA 7279 which his staff got from the Regional Trial Court Library.

On Thursday, the vice mayor pointed out that the demolition effected by Sheriff Abe Andres was “illegal” because it fell short of the 30-day period required under RA 7279.

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‘A good law’

“Tama, the vice mayor is correct,” Robillo said. “This is a very good law,” he said of RA 7279, or an Act to provide for a comprehensive and continuing urban development and housing program.

Section 28 of RA 7279 requires that in the “execution of eviction or demolition orders involving underprivileged and homeless citizens,” a 30–day notice to the affected persons prior to demolition should be served.

It also mandates the identification of adequate relocation sites, the presence of local officials during demolition and proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition.

Duterte had pointed out that “not one” among these provisions was followed during the July 1 demolition, which prompted his incensed daughter Sara to punch the sheriff.

“Since the writ (of demolition) was issued on June 22, the demolition can only be made after 30 days.  They should have waited for 30 days,” Robillo said and agreed with Duterte upon checking the dates when the writ was issued.

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The law also provides that the demolition or eviction should only be done during regular office hours and during “good weather.”

“Davao City was under a state of calamity when the sheriff carried out the order,” an angry Duterte said.

Robillo, however, said the sheriff should not be blamed for carrying out the demolition because he was just following orders.

“Masama ang loob ko (I feel bad) because he was merely following orders,” Robillo said. “Sheriffs are just like foot soldiers, they are just following orders from their commander,” he added.

On the moratorium on all demolitions in the city declared by Duterte on Thursday, the judge said there should be a dialogue between the city and court officials.

“If that’s his opinion, as the chief executive officer, that should be respected,” he said.  “I believe the judges should take that into consideration, although legally, the courts and the mayor are two separate entities.  The mayor has some persuasive effect on the court,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andres, who reported to office on Wednesday, is filing another leave of absence on Monday next week.

His colleagues in Manila on Friday expressed their sympathy to Andres who took at least four punches from Sara.

Sheriffs from different branches of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court held a lunch time protest to condemn the recent assault on Andres by Sara.

The court sheriffs, who all wore black shirts, got their point across without saying a word for an entire hour.

Some 50 members of the Quezon City RTC Sheriffs Association decried what they said was a “brazen mockery” of the court process. With a report by Julie M. Aurelio

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TAGS: Abe Andres, Davao City, Isaac Robillo, local government, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte
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