Davao City mayor punches sheriff

Posted at 07/01/2011 1:35 PM | Updated as of 07/01/2011 7:31 PM
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte holds Abe Andres, sheriff of Davao RTC branch

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte was caught on camera punching a sheriff of the Davao Regional Trial Court Branch 15 who was serving a demolition order on Friday.

Duterte said she had asked court sheriff Abe Andres to wait for 2 hours before serving a demolition order that would destroy shanties of 500 families in Barangay Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Suliman, Agdao.

She said Andres ignored the order, causing tension to break out in the area.

Footage taken by ABS-CBN Davao showed Duterte gesturing to Andres to come closer before punching him repeatedly in the face.

Two men were also seen holding on to Andres while Duterte held on to his collar and talked to him.

In an interview, Andres said Duterte's attack left him with contusions above his eye.

"Merong contusions kaunti sa ibabaw ng aking mata pero ok naman ho. May reseta," he told ABS-CBN News Channel.

The sheriff said he did not expect to be attacked by the mayor since he was only doing his job.

He added that a lawyer approached him at the hospital and said the mayor was offering her apology.

"Hindi ko alam kung galing yun sa kanya. Kung ano naman hindi naman namin sabihing ok na lang din pero yung sorry na yun kung hindi galing sa kanya wala akong magagawa," he said.

Andres said he will report the matter to his superiors as well as the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines before taking any action.

'I did not beat him up'

In a separate interview, Duterte said she asked Andres to wait for her to prevent a riot from happening.

"I was asking him for 2 hours because we were already preparing for the demolition yesterday. I sat down with the people  in the area and I asked our city housing to sit down with the owner of the property. Everything was supposed to go smooth sailing but what happened was I asked him to wait for me and give me 2 hours because I am still in the relief operations and he said he will not comply and proceed with the demolition. So when I arrived, the riot was starting already and one police was hurt already. Medyo mainit na talaga yung ulo ko, mam," she told ANC's On the Scene. 

Asked if her foul mood justified her beating up Andres, the mayor said: "I did not beat him up...I am prepared to stand by what I am saying, that  I am asking him for humanitarian reason to wait for me since we were already planning for this so that no riot will happen and the demolition will be executed peacefully."

The mayor said it was she who ordered that Andres be given medical treatment at the Southern Philippines Medical Center. She said Andres refused to be admitted and left the hospital.

"I was the one who sent him to the hospital. I think that's sorry enough. I also told the doctor to admit him to the hospital but he refused," she said.

She also denied sending an emissary to relay her apologies to Andres.

Duterte said that before the confrontation, she had called up Andres' superior and told him to delay the demolition. She said Andres's boss is her relative.

The mayor said she is prepared to face any investigation of the incident.

"They say they are going to file contempt charges. That is not a problem for me," she said.  With a report from Maymay Benedicto, DXAB Davao; ANC