MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has formed a fact-finding team to investigate the incident involving Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and a suspected swindler, who was allegedly forced to eat paper by the vice mayor last Tuesday.
Robredo said the committee was formed because Duterte must be subjected through the legal process.
However, Robredo said the DILG has yet to receive a formal complaint against Duterte.
"As of now, we have not yet received a formal complaint against vice-mayor Duterte and we have to have that complaint against him before we can act on the matter. Like any other accused local government official, he has to go through the legal process," said Robredo.
Duterte allegedly forced suspected swindler Manolito Gayas to swallow fake land titles after he was arrested following complaints by some Davao City-based informal settlers who claimed the suspect peddled counterfeit documents.
Human rights advocates, including Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales and Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, condemned the incident and urged authorities to investigate.
"I understand and sympathize with the concerns and cries of human rights groups and advocates. But we first need to have the formal complaint of Mr. Gayas and the side of vice mayor Duterte before we can make our conclusions and recommendations on the matter," Robredo said.