It is said that in the first world countries, (rich countries) conflict resolution is handled in functioning institutions, in the third world, on personal impulses or caprice of their leaders or warlords, which invariably results in a bloodbath. The impersonal institution is substituted by personal predilections, process is less circuitous and the conflict is addressed posthaste.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is the daughter of Ex-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who during his reign as a mayor made the city a haven for tourists, because the city enjoyed a relative peace by getting rid of its criminals through the dreaded vigilantes the locals called the “Duterte Death Squads”. Now it is Sara’s turn to show that his father’s talent somehow got rubbed off on her.
The deputy sheriff was serving a demolition order lawfully issued by Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court of that city. Sara alleged that she tried to intervene in the demolition by asking for a 2 hour reprieve, but the deputy refused. She could have called the judge herself and asked the local magistrate to call off the eviction of some 200 squatter families for after all, this poor court official was simply following the order of his judge, but she did not.
With bodyguards in tow, she asked for the deputy and in front of her admiring squatter families, delivered quick hammer-knife blows to the stunned officer of the law who instinctively run after receiving some four hard blows on the face. Her crowds cheered – the sheriff left unnerved.
Not content with the first salvoes she had unleashed to the pitiful officer, she asked her bodyguards to collar the deputy and brought him back to her. She continued berrating the poor fellow. Meanwhile, the policemen, who acted as peacekeepers in the demolition stood frozen, unable to contain the rage of their city official.
Sara thought she can do this — being the chip off the old block, she has little respect for the courts and for good reasons, besides the squatters seeing her on the scene at the height of a demolition augurs well for a fast and swift dramatic action the way her father would address a far graver malaise brought by street urchins and criminals that torment civilians – put bullet holes on their heads and prevent them from seeing a courthouse ever.
In the countryside, the law is the warlord. Davao, like any other place in the country is controlled by dominant families who took turns in running the city or the legislative districts within and outside this city. These families are armed and ready to do battle with anyone who oppose them. The central government oftentimes, is helpless to rein in these families. The phrase “due process of law” is not in their vocabulary – their way of justice is swift, but it is their personal concept of what justice is where they act as as a prosecutor, a judge and executioner.
Sara thought that it is justice to manhandle a sheriff who were evicting squatters after a court ordered them evicted. Whoever is the owner of the property, he had the decency to go to court to protect his property from intrusion. The court officer follows the law, Sara her own personal law, but the crowd cheered the law-breaker and booed the sheriff who was implementing the law and the media makes her a heroine!
Indeed, she was a heroine of the squatters she wants protected because the city under her administration could not provide them the barest of their living quarters and would pass on the burden to private landowners.
I wonder if it is her own private land that was squatted upon. Maybe just like some suspected criminals in the area, these squatters could have been dumped into some grassy outskirts of the city with bullet holes on their heads too one after the other without due process of law!