Court violated 30-day reglamentary period

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Thursday, July 7, 2011


THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) violated the mandatory 30-day reglamentary period before an eviction order is implemented, said Davao City Vice Mayor Duterte, who was once a government prosecutor before becoming politician.

Duterte said Republic Act 7279, or the "Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, specifically mandates for a 30-day grace period before any eviction order will be implemented.

He said RTC Branch 16 under Judge Emmanuel Carpio issued the eviction order on June 21, 2011 for illegal shanties in Soliman, Agdao; hence, it should have been implemented at the earliest on July 21.

The eviction order was, however, implemented on July 1 that resulted in a riot and eventually the punching of court sheriff Abe Andres by Mayor Sara Duterte that attracted worldwide attention.

Section 28 of RA 7279 states that "in the execution of eviction or demolition orders involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, the following shall be mandatory:

(1) Notice upon the effected persons or entities at least 30 days prior to the date of eviction or demolition;

(2) Adequate consultations on the matter of settlement with the duly designated representatives of the families to be resettled and the affected communities in the areas where they are to be relocated;

(3) Presence of local government officials or their representatives during eviction or demolition;

(4) Proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition;

(5) Execution of eviction or demolition only during regular office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather, unless the affected families consent otherwise;

(6) No use of heavy equipment for demolition except for structures that are permanent and of concrete materials;

(7) Proper uniforms for members of the Philippine National Police who shall occupy the first line of law enforcement and observe proper disturbance control procedures; and

(8) Adequate relocation, whether temporary or permanent: Provided, however, that in cases of eviction and demolition pursuant to a court order involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, relocation shall be undertaken by the local government unit concerned and the National Housing Authority with the assistance of other government agencies within 45 days from service of notice of final judgment by the court, after which period the said order shall be executed: Provided, further, that should relocation not be possible within the said period, financial assistance in the amount equivalent to the prevailing minimum daily wage multiplied by 60 days shall be extended to the affected families by the local government unit concerned.

Vice Mayor Duterte said the court had not only violated the 30-day reglamentary period but also the "good weather" condition stipulated in the said law.

Davao City was under a state of calamity at the time the demolition was implemented due to the flooding that hit the Matina area that resulted in the death of 30 residents there.

Thus, Duterte said, the mere presence of the sheriff in the area before the lapse of the reglamentary period is already a violation of the law; thus, Mayor Duterte was simply exercising her authority to arrest violators.

"Mayor Duterte was arresting the sheriff because he was not supposed to be there," Duterte explained.

When asked if he will file a case against Judge Carpio and court sheriff Andres for violation of the law, Duterte said he really does not want to make things worse especially so that Andres already made a public apology to the mayor.

He did not categorically state if he would file charges or not.

The vice mayor advised columnists and officials who are critical to Mayor Duterte to "study (the law) first before you open your mouth." He said he would gladly lecture them about the Constitution.

The same advice goes to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Loretta Ann "Etta" Rosales, said Vice Mayor Duterte.

He said the CHR chair was simply too elementary in dealing with the realities of life.

On Tuesday, the CHR chair said Vice Mayor Duterte's flashing of a dirty finger and his cursing is a case of verbal abuse and clear violation of human rights. For this, CHR Chair Rosales urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to teach the elder Duterte a lesson.

"If I happen to fart here during the session, will she report me immediately to the DILG secretary? Ano to, high school? Ano ba si Robredo, prefect of discipline?" Duterte asked.

Rosales described Vice Mayor Duterte's actions as "arrogance of power."

"It was alarming because it reflects the arrogance of power of an official who refuses to be criticized," Rosales was quoted as saying.

Rosales reminded government officials that they are public servants and not kings.

Duterte, however, retorted by saying that his way of expressing his anger and extreme disgust on what's happening around him is by raising his middle finger. The vice mayor said that is his form of expression and the Constitution protects the freedom of expression of every individual.

"What is your characterization of a dirty finger? Verbal abuse, what does it mean to you? You do not curtail my freedom of expression. The Constitution guarantees me that right. It is my constitutional right to express myself with either my mouth or my finger. It is also my birth right. Nobody but nobody could curtail me that right," the vice mayor reminded the CHR.

"That's freedom of expression. I'm disgusted eh. Hirap na nga kami dito sige pa sila yakyak dyan," Duterte added.

He said he will offer no excuses or apologies for displaying a dirty finger on television.

"No excuse no apologies, do what you want to do," Duterte said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 08, 2011.

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