The Davao Mayor, the Sheriff, and the Rule of Law

Scale of JusticeNo one is above the law – not even the Davao’s mayor!  The rule of law is better than that of any individual, declared Aristotle, the teacher of Alexander the Great.

The July 1st evening news became so disturbing because of the video clips that show how Davao Mayor Sarah Duterte was beating up a sheriff who enforced a demolition order. It looked very inhuman, very demeaning. I could feel the shame.

The following day, newspapers (such as this story in Philippine Daily Inquirer) and broadcast networks carry the news with the reactions from government agencies and various groups.

Theodore Te, a law profession in the University of the Philippines (UP) as quoted in Philippine Daily Inquirer report said, what she (Duterte) did was not justifiable, not acceptable. In the same report, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Davao City told that there seem to be traces of human rights violations.

Instead of hearing apologies from the Mayor Duterte, I hear the sheriff’s apologies instead.

Now, it saddened me because many people put high regard on what the mayor did than what is right in a democratic society. Lately, some people and leaders in Davao City show support the action of their mayor in a rally.

Meanwhile, the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) condemn Duterte’s attack on a Davao sheriff.

We are now living dangerously in a society with the culture of impunity.

I am afraid what happened in Davao City will also happen in Cebu City. I am afraid that it happened in our town in Mindanao. I am afraid we will soon be ruled by men and not by law.

I am afraid that I wake up one day when everyone forgets the rule of law.

Mayor Sara Duterte should be held liable to what she did. We should not asked her to apologize now expect her and her father to think and believe the way we do but let us let them feel that we are and they are in a society ruled by law.