MANILA -- A group of sheriffs has filed a second disbarment complaint against Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for attacking a court sheriff during a demolition row on July 1.
National officers of the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) on Monday filed the case at the Office of the Bar Confidant at the Supreme Court, citing alleged violations of several canons and rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Manila-based lawyer Fernando Perito earlier filed the first disbarment complaint against Duterte.
"[T]he unprovoked and unjustified attack on [Sheriff Abe Andres] -- an officer of the court and one clothed with authority to implement lawful court orders -- by Mayor Duterte, who is a lawyer and another officer of the court, no less, is an assault on the court as an institution," read the complaint filed by Patermoscio Labayani, Roberto Galing and Fernando Regino.
Andres, detailed at branch 16 of the Davao City regional trial court, was assaulted by Duterte as he was about to demolish the shanties in Barangay Soliman, Agdao district on July 1.
Duterte, daughter of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, violated provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility particularly rules, the complaint said.
These rules require that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct," and "shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system," the complaint said.
Duterte allegedly failed to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession but behaved in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the profession.
The complaint said Andres was in the process of performing his official duties involving the implementation of the writ of demolition dated June 22, 2011 issued by Judge Emmanuel Carpio.
Earlier, Scophil filed a complaint against Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman for direct assault under Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code and grave misconduct.
The attack happened without any provocation, the complainants said, citing video footages taken by news channels.
While Andres tried to flee, he was chased and brought back to Duterte by one of her bodyguards, and was "berated and manhandled like a common criminal."
The same complaint noted that although many police officers were present at the scene, not one of them lifted a finger to stop the mayor and her bodyguards, let alone arrest them for committing a crime in their presence.
Duterte and even her father and brother later showed no remorse for her attack, saying on national television that she is only answerable to the people of Davao City, the complainant added.
"That might be so, perhaps, in the sense that she was elected by them. But being a local chief executive, she is answerable to the Secretary of DILG and to the President. And being a lawyer, she owes fealty to the courts, which is her first duty as an officer thereof,” the group said. (JCV/Sunnex)