Demolition: 'crime against humanity' if not for Sarah

Demolition: 'crime against humanity' if not for Sarah


Could Davao demolition had been a crime against humanity if Sarah did not take law into her hand to stop Sheriff Abe C. Andres?

Now, there appears a report that the purported implementation by Sheriff Andres of a demolition order violated the SACRED DUE PROCESS doctrine sanctified by the Constitution of the Philippines. Due process means a notice about impending prejudice to be given to the target of the prejudice, and an indispensable "opportunity" to be heard.

By the way, Andres was the sheriff who was punched four times by Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte during an attempt to demolish the structures of 13,000 residents of Bangoy Suliman.

A new report published in the Inquirer said that the residents did not know about the implementation of a demolition order. Demolition is the ultimate option of the courts for cases of eviction, it being the harshest and without dispute causes the harshest prejudice to the concerned persons.

If this report is true, the demolition sought to be implemented by Sheriff Andres was a crime against humanity by the sheer number alone (13,000) of people who would suffer condemnation without due process.

An expanded definition of "crime against humanity" is this: ".. murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution or any other inhumane act or omission that is committed against any civilian population or any identifiable group and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, constitutes a crime against humanity according to customary international law or conventional international law or by virtue of its being criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations, whether or not it constitutes a contravention of the law in force at the time and in the place of its commission."

In any other inhumane act, it does not matter if the act is legal in the place it occurred.

Now, the first step a court does is a notice to vacate. If there was refusal to vacate, then the sheriff issues a second notice to vacate. When there would still be a resistance, the sheriff can call in police assistance to forcibly drive out the concerned persons and bring out their personal belongings, but this happens when the winner in an eviction case does not want the structure demolished.

In other cases, demolition may be resorted to or forced upon a resiliently-resisting defendant in cases of structures not wanted by the winner of an eviction case.

BUT THE COURT ensures under Rule 39 of the Philippines' Rules of Court that in all these situations, there must be due process even in cases of the most defiant defendant. BUT the court cannot neglect the law that requires prior financial assistance or relocation sites for persons affected thereby if these persons are squatters.

The resisting defendant must first be informed about an intended demolition. And in implementing due process on demolition, the plaintiff is required to file a motion for demolition furnishing a copy to the defendant and that the motion must have a notice of hearing date.

The purpose of the motion is to require the plaintiff to prove justifications why a demolition is necessary and to give the latter the opportunity to argue why no demolition order should issue. The purpose of the notice of hearing date is to ensure that those sought to be prejudiced when the motion is granted must be notified and given an opportunity to defend their rights.

And if we talk of "defendants", they do not include third parties, or persons who are not involved in the case filed by the plaintiff. Rule 39 is succinct in prohibiting the sheriffs from enforcing any form of writ of execution against third persons for it is a grave violation of due process, and consequently a human right violation.

If this violation affects 13,000 of people as in Davao City's case being attempted to be enforced by Sheriff Andres, then it easily qualifies as a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, an international crime no less despicable than those committed by Gaddafi.

In that report of Inquirer, the leader of the 13,000 throng of the underprivileged insisted they were not notified. Their number is more than sufficient to fill into the definition of crime against humanity if an act is committed against a group of persons. In this case, the group of persons considered is a group of those who have extremely less in life.

These 13,000 people claimed that the last time they knew about the case of eviction was in 2009 when the Municipal Trial Court issued an order to conduct a survey to know the metes and bounds of the parcel of land subject of the case and to know who should be affected by the case. They insisted that this survey has not been done up to this time, only to be surprised by the demolition order.

The report added that the settlers claimed they have been there in that contested lot since 1950s.

Minda Sayson, vice president of the United Settlers Association of Bangoy Soliman Inc., said the settlers were ready to leave had they been informed their houses were on the court list of structures up for demolition.

For more details, read the report at this link:

Nevertheless, the answer is clear: "The demolition could have been a crime against humanity if Sarah did not put justice in her hands."
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