Duterte: Oust Sereno now

Published April 9, 2018, 3:54 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos and Rey Panaligan

President Duterte is now done keeping his silence as he vowed Monday to help expedite the removal of Chief Justice-on leave Ma. Lourdes P. A. Sereno from the Supreme Court (SC).

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno speaks at the Araw ng Kagitingan event organized by groups critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration at the Quezon City Sports Club Monday, a day before she is set to face her co-justices and argue against the petition seeking the revocation of her appointment as head of the judiciary Tuesday. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno speaks at the Araw ng Kagitingan event organized by groups critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration at the Quezon City Sports Club Monday, a day before she is set to face her co-justices and argue against the petition seeking the revocation of her appointment as head of the judiciary Tuesday. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte issued the statement after Sereno, in a speech, asked the President to explain why it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who filed the quo warranto petition against her when he was working for him. The Chief Justice said this was unconstitutional.

“Please explain why it was Solicitor General Calida who filed the quo warranto case. Surely, you (President Duterte) must explain to the people why this unconstitutional act,” Sereno said in her speech before the organizers of the Movement Against Tyranny on the eve of the oral argument set by the SC.

“Mr. President, if you say that you have no hand in this, please explain why Solicitor General Calida, who reports to you, filed the quo warranto petition,” she said.

“Filipinos are smart. They understand. You do not need to spell out the truth for them. It cannot be denied that there is an unseen hand behind this,” she added.

Visibly piqued, President Duterte, during his pre-departure speech, said he has had enough of Sereno placing the blame on him when he already told the Chief Justice that he is not in the habit of going after his political enemies.

“Ikaw Sereno,sinabi ko na sa’yo hindi ako nakikialam (Sereno, I already told you that I am not meddling with this). If you are insisting, then count me in. Count me in and I will egg (on) Calida to do his best. Ako na mismo maglakad din kalaban sa’yo (I will personally lobby against you),”Duterte said Monday afternoon.

“Now, sige ka diyan, daldal ka nang daldal, upakan kita (Now you keep on yakking, I will now hit back). So I am putting you on notice. I am now your enemy. And you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” he added.

Not good for the country

According to Duterte, he will also ask Congress to proceed with Sereno’s impeachment trial immediately as she is not good for the country and keeping her any longer would only create crisis.

“I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress, go into the impeachment right away. Because the two entities can hear it simultaneously. Impeachment in Congress. So I would like to ask Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast-track the impeachment. She is bad for the Philippines,” the President said.

“Let the world know: talagang, makialam ako. Ako nagpapasensya lang ako, babae e (I will now really get involved. I was just trying to stay patient because she is a woman). Now, this time I will ask the congressmen and the Speaker, do it now. ‘Wag ninyong dramahin (Do not delay it anymore). Or else I will do it for you,” he added.

“I am asking Congress, what’s taking you too long? Do not create any crisis in this country,” he continued.

All-out against Sereno

According to Duterte, he will do whatever it takes to get Sereno out of the Supreme Court as her removal would be for the country’s best interest.

“I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal I will do it,” he said.
Duterte and Malacañang have repeatedly insisted that they have no hand in the impeachment cases and quo warranto petition filed against Sereno.

Sereno, in the same speech, also mentioned the impeachment complaints filed against her by lawyer Larry Gadon.

“I have never seen him (Gadon). But it turned out Gadon has seen the President several times and I am really surprised,” she said.
The President has denied all the allegations in connection with the impeachment complaints against Sereno.

Even Gadon, himself, had said that the President was not involved in the complaints he filed with the House of Representatives.
“I will not bow to the powers that be,” Sereno declared.

“I cannot. I must retain the ability to look at every citizen in the eye and say fight on with courage, hang on to your principles, never yield, never give up,” she stressed.

The House Committee on Justice has approved six Articles of Impeachment against Sereno. But all the members of the House have yet to vote on them.With one-third vote, the impeachment complaint could be transmitted to the Senate for trial.

Sereno said she was expecting the transmittal of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. She said she will face the Senate as the impeachment court.

“We are not destined to slavery but to freedom. What is evil, we denounce, what is good, we affirm,” she stressed.

Sereno also criticized some SC justices whom she wanted inhibited from the quo warranto case.

She specifically mentioned Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro whom she said “is harboring ill will against me.”

Sereno had also sought the inhibition of Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Francis H. Jardeleza, and Noel G. Tijam – all of whom like De Castro testified during the hearings on the impeachment complaints.

But SC sources said none of the five justices was inclined to inhibit during today’s oral argument and in the resolution of the quo warranto petition.

The Palace had earlier urged Sereno to resign to preserve the integrity of the Supreme Court. However, Sereno rejected Malacañang’s suggestion.

Duterte, meanwhile, cited Sereno’s supposed luxury, as shown her choice of vehicle and during her trips.

He also slammed Sereno for allegedly not declaring in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), the P30-million lawyer’s fees she received from the government

 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

["news"]
[2495560,2814292,2534630,2485825,2408462,2358243,2358052,2344118,2339143,2047660,1998697,996820,995332,995948,995006,994327,994303,993947,993860,993770,993529,993383,993285,798318,2913580,2913569,2913572,2913575,2913560,2913542]