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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte punches sheriff…and why I still trust and believe in her

First things first. I am a Dabawenya. Hence, you know that I can be biased…and I am. I will not even try to deny it. No matter what people say, I think Davao City has gone a long way from being a mere “NicarAGDAO” (likened to Nicaragua…Agdao is one of the notorious areas in Davao where dead bodies would be found long ago…now it’s a busy commercial district) to being one of the most livable cities in the world and part of the reason why my beloved hometown is doing this well are the Dutertes.

Before I proceed, let me just say that this is not a political post. This will not be an in-depth analysis. This will not even cite the possible sanctions, the alleged violated laws etc etc. I will leave all of those to lawyers, analysts, political bloggers, columnists etc etc. Instead, this will be a simple post from a Dabawenya who merely grew up seeing the big changes around the city she loves. This will be a simple post from a person who has seen the big changes in her fellow Dabawenyos as well.

I believe that longtime Davao City Mayor (now Vice Mayor) Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte (Dabawenyos also called him “Digong”) has done a lot for Davao City. Dabawenyos, in turn, have also learned a lot from him and from his style of governance. Now, with the entry of his daughter, Atty. Sara Duterte – Carpio, into the political arena (she’s now the mayor and the very first lady mayor of Davao City, the largest city in the Philippines) I think that Davao will continue to be in good hands.

I mean, really, there must be a reason why Rody Duterte remained undefeated in Davao. There must also be a reason why Sara Duterte is now the very first lady mayor in Davao – RIGHT?

Plus let’s face it. Mayor Sara got 388,465 votes with a 228,240 vote margin against ex Speaker Prospero Nograles’ 160,225 votes. I think that says something.

I actually wrote about Mayor Inday Sara a few months ago. I caught her in the annual councilors’ league gathering and she effortlessly charmed her way through the councilors’ hearts. You can read that post here. Back then, she was as simple as simple can be. She described herself as “Bisdak” (Bisayang dako or certified Bisaya) and “bugay.” Fast forward July 1, 2011, Mayor Inday Sara is still the same – simple, “bugay,” “Bisdak.” This time, though, she showed another side of her to the rest of the Philippines. She showed how bad it could get if she lost her temper. Yes, she punched Davao Regional Trial Court sheriff Abe Andres during a demolition at (interestingly) Sitio Soliman, Barangay AGDAO. What she did may not be the most logical/ethical thing to do at the time but certainly you must agree — today, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte showed she had balls.

* photo of Sara Duterte by fellow Dabawenya Jojie Alcantara

HOWEVER — I want to make this clear: I do not condone violence. I’m sure my fellow Dabawenyos also do not condone violence. Yes, granted that what our Mayor did was wrong. It’s never right to hurt somebody. However, let’s remember that Mayor Sara requested for a 2-hour reprieve (2-hour postponement) so that she could talk to her constituents. Since she was still helping the flash flood victims, she requested a little postponement. Seriously, what’s 2 hours? Those 2 hours could have saved people from getting hurt. Unfortunately, Andres still gave the go-signal for the demolition to push through. As a result, people got injured, including 1 policeman and some kids. So whose rights should we uphold now? The residents’ (who will soon be homeless, by the way) or the sheriff’s?

Two wrongs don’t make a right. That is true. However, we’re talking about people who will soon be homeless. We’re talking about a person who, if only he was gentleman enough to honor a request made by the mayor for humanitarian reasons, could have at least helped appease the situation. Was it too difficult for the sheriff to postpone the demolition for 2 hours? Fine, the sheriff may not be answerable to the mayor. Fine, the sheriff may only be answerable to the courts. But who is answerable to the people?

I think this should also be made clear. Davao Mayor Inday Sara Duterte merely asked for a 2-hour postponement. She DID NOT ask that the demolition be stopped. She merely needed time to talk to her constituents, in an effort to stop further violence.

To those out there especially non-Dabawenyos who believe that the mayor should have been “more professional” in dealing with the situation, please remember — there are a lot of dynamics when it comes to local politics. It’s difficult to explain. You must see it, hear it, experience it in order for you to really grasp it, understand it, appreciate it.

And oh, by the way, let’s not start with how the violent demolition operations have also been conducted in various urban areas around Manila. If you think what happened in Davao was already “violent,” then perhaps you want to check on what happened during the demolition operations in North Triangle, Quezon City as well as in Corazon de Jesus, San Juan. Read up on those and then get back to me.

As for the mayor’s statement that she does not answer to the people outside of Davao or that she does not care what non-Dabawenyos think of what she did — please don’t consider it as arrogance on her part. In my opinion, she said it because she felt that we Dabawenyos needed to hear it. Because, after all, she is our mayor, we put her in power and so she felt she was obliged to explain herself to us. Do you think YOUR mayor will ever do that?

I still have a lot to say but for now, let me just say one more thing. I said this earlier via Twitter and I will say it again.

In my humble opinion, only real Dabawenyos can understand why our Mayor Sara Duterte did what she did. You have to be in Davao, from Davao to fully understand why most, if not all, Dabawenyos support her and her father. We enjoy a certain level of security in Davao partly because of the Dutertes. Truth.

I also think that we should not be too quick to judge. We should all wait for the Department of Interior and Local Government’s move. As of this writing, sheriff Andres already said that he has no plans at all of filing charges against Mayor Sara. So let’s just wait for the DILG’s move.

In closing, I would just like to say that whether or not our lady mayor will get suspended (or even fired), one thing is now for certain — Davao Mayor Sara Duterte shook the Philippines “with a punch” and she has truly changed the way people look at female mayors! This isn’t the last that you’ll hear of Mayor Sara. She has one very bright political future ahead of her. Make my words.

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32 Comments

  • Hi there! Just chimed in to say that I find it appalling for any mayor in any part of the Philippines should resort to any use of force for whatever reason.

    I respect your view and can see that you have insight into the situation in Davao City which most people may not have.

    However, from my point of view, I see this as a case of a mayor over stepping her bounds.

    I do not think that the mayor was “requesting” anything but rather ordering the court sheriff. This impression of mine comes from having heard, read, and seen a number of interviews in broadcast and online news.

    One report in particular (http://www.gmanews.tv/story/225041/regions/duterte-to-dzbb-radioman-be-a-mayor-first-then-lets-talk) even has her saying:

    “Hindi siya na-kontrol ng aking city housing officer. Tinuloy niya ‘yung kanyang demolition… Ang nangyari, tinuloy-tuloy niya, nagkagulo, nag-riot nga. Nasugatan ‘yung isang pulis ko. ‘Yung isang pulis ko nandun sa ospital,” she said.

    But when Oro asked if she considered that her action was like putting the rule of law in her own hands, Duterte-Carpio got incensed.

    Oro asked Duterte-Carpio why she immediately resorted to attacking Andres, when she could have spoken with him first to discuss the matter.

    “Kinausap ko siya, ‘di ba? Sabi ko bigyan mo ako hanggang alas-onse. Sabi niya hindi, ipagpatuloy niya ang demolisyon. O? Ano ‘yung sinasabi mo na hindi ko siya kinausap?” Duterte-Carpio said.

    The thing is, just because you request for something, it doesn’t mean that it SHOULD actually be granted.

    After all, what the mayor had was a ‘request’ and what the sheriff was implementing was a lawful order from the court. If she wanted the demolition to be delayed a bit, then
    she should have had someone file the proper petition.

    But because she didn’t do that, her ‘request’ to the sheriff or the court (if there was one) could be denied and it was. Perhaps she felt slighted by the denial of her request, but then again, was the sheriff fulfilling a lawful act.

    What it looks like to me is that it looks like someone trampled on her turf and she was peeved.

    Who was responsible for the violence in the demolition? Let’s be clear about that.

    Did the sheriff instigate the violence or knowingly told the police to violently evict the squatters? I don’t think so.

    Moreover, I had an impression that in Davao City, laws were followed and property rights were respected. So, it really doesn’t make sense to me that under a strong mayor like the father Duterte, squatter colonies should exist at all in Davao City. If you really looked at it, perhaps, the squatters shouldn’t have been there at all and the demolition wouldn’t have been necessary.

    • no3L.dev

      Hi Paul, as to what you have said…clearly enough, you are not from Davao.

      Being in the real experience is way too different than just reading the news, watching TV and reading blogs. Not everything is fully understandable especially if you’re not from the scene of the incident and don’t know exactly what the people involved.

      Some people usually see what is only visible to their eyes not seeing the big picture.

      Our Mayor’s request (or order as you say) to the sheriff was merely asking for consideration to just wait for her before the demolition to avoid a riot which is really possible if she is around (that’s how truly respectable the Dutertes are).

      What Mayor Inday Sarah did was wrong in the eye of the law and for some people, but the most (especially the Dabawenyos)…what she did was just right for people who insist their duties without thinking of the consequences (which endangers the lives of her people) when all it should take is to wait for just two hours for a peaceful resolution.

      You asked, did the sheriff instigate the violence or knowingly told the police to violently evict the squatters? You don’t think so? oh come on…you said yourself, their squatters. no illegal settlers who are forced to leave their homes will just follow orders from someone who they didn’t even know…a resistance is always expected that is why the police are around.

      Do you know…after the punching incident, the Mayor talked to the residents and they calmly agreed to demolish their own houses and move to a relocation site. Now, if only the sheriff waited for Mayor Inday Sarah…it would have been that easy (no riot and no one would be hurt as happened).

      It was all just a matter of choice. The sheriff chose the wrong one, so he get a punch 🙂
      Although I admit, it is really wrong but it just justifies the consequences of his actions.
      The punches to the Sheriff is way better than a riot which would endanger the lives of the people there.

      Sometimes, breaking the law is the only way to make things right. Watch the movie Priest 🙂

      Also, there is no perfect government. We may say that Davao City has a strong government but it’s not perfect. We have our weaknesses like everyone else. And one of the weakness of the city is its people. I believe that as long as the property owners don’t insist their lands cleared out…squatters are left untouched as the city is still slowly planning their place of relocation and livelihood. It’s a work in progress and it’s a little slow but we understand it.

      The people of Davao understands and will always support Mayor Inday Sarah over this incident.

    • @Paul I am not from Davao but another part of Mindanao. Your view is obviously from someone who is living in an ideal vacuum where everything is black and white. What the sheriff did, though “legal” resulted in violence/people getting hurt. They may be squatters, but they still have their rights and are human beings. A 2 hour delay would not have hurt him nor the country and would have resulted in maximum good for everyone.

      1) It was NOT logical for him to not concede the 2 hour DELAY. Would he have gone to jail? Would he have hurt anyone? NO.

      2) By conceding 2 hours, would he have saved people from getting hurt and prevented violence? Giving time to Mayor Duterte to speak to her constituents would have resulted to peaceful evacuation of homes (they are STILL homes of people despite being illegal squatters).

      Ask yourself why the sheriff didn’t do the 2nd option. What motivated him to do more harm? Remember the spirit of the law, NOT JUST the law. The law is there to protect everyone. Maybe someone else had interests in this matter, that provided the sheriff with more motivation to demolish immediately. Did someone powerful or rich pay him to do it? We don’t know. I agree with Mindanaoan – we don’t know the entire story and we cannot do what you are doing and just hypothesize certain aspects.

      All I am saying is do not be narrow minded and think that we live in an ideal society where everything is black and white. Squatters are people too and have BASIC HUMAN rights. Good thing they have Mayor Duterte who somehow is able to keep this in mind and cares for them.

      Note: I do not condone violence, but I surely understand why Mayer Duterte’s passion for her constituents drove her to violence against someone who obviously had none. And did not think twice about driving people out of their homes and demolishing them with or without them inside it. My views are not views of the government nor of my husband. I am not an expert/political analyst in anyway. Just a normal person with my own point of view.

    • Sometimes we realized that we must do a lesser evil to make a greater good. To fight for the right without question or pause. To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. I honestly appreciate of what the Mayor did. The sheriff should have waited for humanitarian reason considering that he was not blind like the lady justice.

    • Read about your comment. 1)The request of Mayor Sarah for two hours to prevent BLOODSHED was ignored by the sheriff due to eagerness or a mere display of arrogance being an arm of the court or simply wanting to finish his task in order to have a bottle of beer and partake the extras of the demolition fund, remind you that the sheriff is the COMMANDING GENERAL AND THE BUDGET OFFICER OF THE DEMOLITION TEAM. Court orders specify the dates but never the hour.2) There are things that plain eye could not see in the plain view of the cameras, SOLAIMAN, AGDAO IS THE ABODE OF SOME SLEEPING DRAGONS OF DAVAO CITY WHO FOUGHT IN THE 80s in cleansing Davao City of the Reds, these people would FIGHT IT TO DEATH IF the demolition had pushed through. These people WOULD ONLY HEAR AND RESPECT THE ASSURING WORDS OF THE DUTERTES in order for them to follow and demolish their on houses. SARAH WANTS TO PREVENT WHAT COULD BE A SURE DEATH TOLL ON BOTH SIDES.3) The sheriff can’t give 2 hour of status quo BECAUSE THE COURT SAY SO SAID THE SHERIFF and yet after the incident the court had given 10 days of court relief due to respect, is that not worth pondering for?

  • @Paul Farol elitista ka kasi kya ganyan yung tingin mo. Has it ever occurred to you that the good Mayor was passionately concerned for the well being of even the ‘squatters’? The way we see it, Sarah was putting the safety of the people in her own hands. I would rather see my mayor emotional and passionate during situations like this than have a calm, apathetic, pencil pusher puppet.

  • Proud Davaoeno

    @Paul Farol : if you’re living in the US, then there you can say “the squatters shouldn’t have been there at all…” . but we this is Philippines, a third world country. A country which has 10% rich, about 20% middle and roughly 70% below poverty. The people of Davao will be beside our Mayor. We are proud with our Mayor and what she and her father has done all through the years. Why not criticize mayors who are drug lords, jueteng lords, and corrupt? you have to live in Davao to understand our Mayor. Our Mayor has all the good intention to the MAJORITY. If what she did will get her fired then fire first those overly corrupt, drug lords, jueteng lords, and sleeping mayors. otherwise say goodbye to our country for having evil politicians and getting rid of the good ones!

  • Jay

    I agree it was not ethical what she did. But given the circumstances I think I would do the same thing if Im in her shoes. Come on a man/woman can only take so much. She has been under great stress lately I think we people should give her a slack. As a BISDAK myself I find it easy to side with her having said that I don’t find it fair the dissing by people esp from Luzon. They don’t understand the south and people from the north always feel superior. They have been leading this country since its birth and look where we are now? If we have a BISDAK leader like Sara who got balls? I can only imagine how discipline Filipinos are

    • Hi Jay, I can imagine the stress Mayor Sara had to go through. Thousands of people were affected because of the floods and she also had to contend pa with the riot in Agdao.

  • Eddie Rama

    Manakit ng kapwa ay di tama,…pero sa nakita ko ay buti nga Suntok lang ang inabot niya eh,.ano ba naman hintayin niya ang pinag-usapan na oras,..nag-papakita lang na gusto rin niya maging sikat siya ayon sa pagsuway niya sa usapan. Dong babae ang kausap mo, kung naging lalake ay ano pa kaya ang paglalagyan mo? Sino ang dapat sisihin dito…?…Respeto Dong ang kailangan , dahil kung may-respeto ka sa kapwa ay di sana nangyari ito, di ba?..hindi ko kina kampihan si Mayor SARAH DUTERTE at wala akong connection sa kanya O hindi din kita nilalait pero dapat ay tingnan muna natin ang situation na pupuntahan natin…PREVENTIVE MEASURES…muna…ngayon..ay maski ano ang gawin natin ay tapos na yan…kung matatangal si SARAH DUTERTE sa pagiging Mayor ay matutuwa ka ba?…well, matutuwa yong mga politico na
    nag-aasam sa pwesto niya..nakakasiguro ka naman kaya na tatagal ka sa trabaho mo?…ito ay sarili ko lang opinion…kung mali ako nasa inyo at hindi ko naman sinasabi na tama ang ginawa ni SARAH,…pero paki-tingnan ninyo ang bawat angulo bago tayo maghusga…

  • Reality Check

    This Sara Duterte is a big disgrace to the “bisaya” women.What she did, is wrong and the fact that she even pig-headidly declined to offer an apology to that poor sheriff is a sad proof on how arrogant and classless this lady is.In my opinion, she should be put to jail to serve as an example that no Filipino should ever be above the law.She is a lawyer so she should have known it better.Shame on her .

    • @Reality Check Are you Bisaya? Did you hear what she was saying to the police and sheriff? Are you super rich and have no compassion for the poor? What she did is wrong and in the fit of passion and rage. This rage only happens when you care enough about something to feel as intensely as she did about her constituents.

      Your generalizations show that your value what other people think about you over your compassion for the poor. Life is not black and white and those living in the 200 shanties do not deserve less compassion than the poor sheriff. Yes I feel sorry for the sheriff. But I also feel sorry for the squatters. I’m sure you would be attached to if you were being driven away from your home.

      Take a look at the entire picture. Examine the different motivations for different people as well. Why the heck wont the sheriff give 2 measly hours for the Mayor to talk to her constituents. This is why there are crimes of passion. If you were a squatter, would you rather have a mayor who was cold and didn’t care about all your belongings/children are being crushed while your illegal house is being demolished or someone who would like to talk to you and help you understand what is being done to you so that you can peacefully leave your house?

      She was incensed because there was really no justification for the sheriff not to give here 2 measly hours. She lost it and she was wrong too. But that doesn’t make what the sheriff did right in my eyes. The sheriff was wrong too.

    • I think it is a matter of how you see, hear, and understand the situation. Not all not-right is wrong. For the greater majority she is right. ‘For humanitarian reason’ that she was asking from the sheriff, she is right to be waited as a preventive measure to avoid violence. The sheriff did not respect the Shepherd. He cosed his eyes even if he saw the situation and implemented the blind folded justice without consulting the conscience of his common sense.

    • sayuriah

      Shame on her? ~well, yeah it would have been if she was elected in that position and was careless…but, really a bruised face (and ego) of one sheriff being punched by a lady is far lesser compare to the BLOODSHED that could’ve added to the number of people dead from the flashflood. Of course i am not pro with violence but what the mayor did, did not only displayed her “passion” for the people but also her “sincerity” to serve and maintain the peace in one of the most “HOT SPOT” place in the city when it comes to crimes. Try living in Agdao neighborhood and surely you’ll understand why the mayor reacted that way or the people in davao (who knew that place) agreeing on what she did.

      I’d rather have a mayor who would lose her temper in reasonable circumstances trying to protect the majority on the spot that have someone in the office who would “act” only after the damage has been done.

      Think about it, how would you catecorize a politician who wouldn’t care about “protecting” her image (and wage) just to protect the lives of her constituents?

  • Blazing Fire

    All I can say is. In Visayas and Mindanao, we are born fierce fighters. . .and with that, even if your a man or women. You were not judged by gender but by power and strength. So I say that why would you take job first before solving a riot or whatever problem it is. But I think Mayor should control herself too. Even if we are born fierce fighters. We should have controlled it and the flood victims need to prepare first before a demolition would happen. Thats a sheriffs job right. But can’t they help solve a problem first than job? (those are just my opinions)

  • Its a matter of class standpoint (political comment) as Nato reyes said, if you are for the urban poor masses, you understand what she did, on the opposite end it becomes unbecoming of political bourgeoisie who basically wrote the book on anti-people infrastructure “development”

  • Queen Salonga Develos

    For me mali tlga yung pananapak ni mayor but despite of the fact na ginawa nya yun I still support her a s a mayor of Davao at napagtanto ko na hindi pla nasayang yung vote ko sa kanya kasi nasa puso niya kaming mga davawenyo. Its just show the real her..

  • Non-davaoeno

    I’m born and raised in Manila and I’ve never been to Davao or any other part of Mindanao. I am a Filipino though, and I know where we, as a country, come from. Nothing is black and white. It is mostly gray due to out need for conversation. Pinoys like talking things over. In my opinion, this is the type of leadership the country needs. Someone who will get into a fight for us. When was the last time you saw a political figure in the Philippines get into a fist fight for his/her constituents? Maybe for his/her pride, family or riches, yes. I believe the Filipino people will respect such a leader and follow, not necessarily with tails between legs, but with pride and obedience. Yes, I do think we need a president like her or her father.

  • I am PROUDLY Davao-Born, -Raised and still residing here AND I DO approve this post!

    Love her or rue her,
    SHE IS STILL MY MAYOR!!

    Inday Sara for Senator 2016!

  • john

    I think, what she did was wrong.. Her pride rule over her head.. The way I see it, She simply can’t accept that a mere court sheriff wasn’t able to grant her request. Public Servants should serve the public not the other way around. It is a common mistake and seems an accepted norm that when you are a public official you can do everything you can because you have all the power…. think of the statement, “What are we in power for”…. Public officials don’t own the people, they don’t own the government as well. They suppose to uphold the law and it will be a shame on your part if with all your knowledge about it, you are the one showing other people how to break it.. Government officials aren’t gods that people would bow down their heads and grant them their request whatever it is.. Punching a person in front of your constituents is a classless act, less of being a barbaric.. I am not against her personally, but I am against what she had just done, I am also against those people who are trying to own a particular land, be it a city, region or a nation… so we should be careful in choosing people to run the government, they might think that they just had owned us all…

  • Nix

    The first time I saw the video and read the news about this, honestly, I went “Woohoo!” coz it’s not often you see a mayor incensed like that about something she really believes in. She was in her shirt and jeans and not made-up at all. She looked stressed and tired; she looked more like an activist than a mayor — and in my book, that’s just “Wow”. That sheriff could’ve just, y’know, exercised some common sense and humanity; her request wasn’t asking him to give up the world. Bureaucracy may organize processes but most times, it just blocks and steps on the rights of people & opportunities to do the right thing as quickly as possible. Like protecting people who might otherwise have been appealed to, as Mayor Duterte believed they could be.

    Still, I’m not 100% sold on that her punching that guy was right. Sure isn’t but in the heat of that moment, she probably just didn’t have the strength to control herself. I hope that by now, given that she’s had loads of time to rethink that moment, maybe she could’ve reconsidered and repented. Subjecting herself to the disciplinary process is admirable. But I’d still rather have a leader with balls and a heart in the right place than someone who’s talking too much and being vague with their actions.

  • Botagz

    My roots are not from Davao but I have lived and studied there before.

    If I were in her shoes, I could’ve done more than just a punch.

    I personally think what she did was HEROIC.

    • Hello Reica, thank you for your comment and for visiting my humble blog 🙂 I have a question…do you think Mayor Sara has a very good chance of winning if ever she runs for a higher position?

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