Whose side is the court sheriff on?

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Monday, March 10, 2014

“I SHOT the sheriff/ But I didn’t shoot no deputy/ Oh no/...Read in the news (I shot the sheriff) / Oh lord/ (But I swear it was in self defense...”
--From the Bob Marley song

NO SHERIFF was shot, heavens no, in the demolition of houses in Bry. Apas, Cebu City. Not the sheriff or his deputy.

But court sheriff Edilberto Suarin was shot at, figuratively, by those resisting the court order: occupants of houses, their lawyers, and assorted do-gooders from LGUs and NGOs.


The sheriff stood out as villain, representing the authority that empowered the men wielding carrying hammers and crowbars to tear down the homes the court ruled were sitting on squatted land.

Many opposers didn't see him as court surrogate but as hireling of the court-declared owner, enforcing out the claim to the property.

Not that they had no visibly valid reasons for suspecting Suarin. Didn't he recruit or accept the hiring of those ruffians who wielded weapons of awful destruction, some of whom carried no ID or did but hooded their faces? Didn't he violate or bend some legal rules of demolition?

It's standard practice for the winning litigant to spend money on the sheriff, after all he enforces the court order and paying his expenses is seemly.


That depicts the sheriff as the bad guy, the One Against Them. Not an enviable position if one seeks respect if not love at the workplace.

No, perish the thought of shooting anyone. Suarin could be just doing his job, for which he's open to curses and lawsuits but, God forbid, not a hail of bullets.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 11, 2014.


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