Duterte not worried about possible disbarment

By Francis Magbanua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2011 08:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2011 07:50 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said she is prepared to face charges as a result of Friday's punching incident involving her and a court sheriff.

She faced the media on Saturday as she reported for work amid heavy rains to attend to the needs of her constituents.

"They [my lawyers] will take care of the charges, cases that will be filed," she said.

Duterte added, "Na-frustrate ako yesterday with him [sheriff]. What's the point of all the planning for the demolition kung hindi man lang din matutuloy 'yung magandang pinag-uusapan?"

("I got frustrated with him. What's the point of all the planning for the demolition if our plans won't push through?")

The National Prosecutors League of the Philippines (NPLP) said Duterte may face charges for direct assault as a result of the incident. She may also face disbarment as she cannot interfere with a lawful order from the court.

"The sheriff is under the Supreme Court, under the judiciary so wala pong jurisdiction ang mayor sa kanya (so the mayor does not have jurisdiction over him)," said Prosecutor Jonathan Lledo, NPLP president.

He continued, "She may also be liable for indirect contempt for disobedience of the court order. We must remember and take note of the fact na the offender here is also a lawyer. And as a lawyer we are duty-bound to uphold the majesty of the law and to respect and implement lawful and legal court practices.

"So 'pag na-violate natin 'yan p'wede tayong sampahan ng indirect contempt, the penalty of which may be a fine or imprisonment depending on the court."

Duterte said, however, that she is not worried about getting disbarred.

"Ok lang na ma-disbar ako, sukad wala man ko nag-work as lawyer. Sayang lang ako 5 years nag-eskwela nga gihaguan nako (It's okay that I get disbarred. I never got to work as a lawyer anyway. I just wasted 5 years studying law)," she said.

The Davao City mayor also does not care about the fact that a YouTube video of Friday's punching incident reached more than 120,000 hits. She stressed that what happened was "not her best moment."

"If there's anyone she owes an explanation to, it's the people of Davao since she's the mayor," DXAB Davao reporter Maymay Benedicto told radio dzMM on Saturday, quoting Duterte.

The demolition of some 200 homes in Tomas Monteverde Sr. in Agdao has temporarily been put on hold pending an official order from branch 16 of the Davao Regional Trial Court.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), meanwhile, said it will form a fact-finding committee to look into the incident. Secretary Jesse Robredo said they may file slight misconduct or grave misconduct charges against Duterte, with penalties ranging from reprimand to dismissal.

He added that he will wait for the results of the investigation before submitting his recommendation to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. -- With a report from Maymay Benedicto, DXAB Davao