Palace tells Sereno: Look at the mirror

Published May 18, 2018, 10:22 AM

by Roel Tibay

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that if the opposition is doomed if it thinks that ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is their rightful leader.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Sereno called for President Duterte’s resignation. She claimed that Duterte had a hand in the Supreme Court’s decision in unseating her by voting for the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Roque, in a Skype interview with Palace reporters, said that the position is now desperate if it is going to make the ousted Chief Justice its leader as he claims that nobody believes Sereno.

“Ang tingin ko po ay talagang desperado po ang oposisyon. Naghahanap sila ng isang rallying figure, at ang napili po nila ay si Chief Justice, isang malaking pagkakamali po ito (I think the opposition is now desperate. They are looking for a rallying figure and if they have chosen Chief Justice, then that is a huge mistake),” Roque said.

“Kung maniniwala tayo sa lahat ng survey, ay hindi po pinagkakatiwalaan si Chief Justice at napakababa po ng approval rating ni Chief Justice (If we will believe the surveys, the people do not trust the Chief Justice and she has very low approval ratings),” he added.

“Kung ‘yan lang po ang magiging rallying figure ng oposisyon, naku po (If she will be the opposition’s rallying figure, then my God), you’re doomed,” he continued.

Malacañang earlier refused to comment on Sereno’s call for Duterte to resign. However, the Roque said that the former Chief Justice is now grandstanding.

“We have earlier refrained from commenting on the former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s call for the President to resign. However, the former top magistrate has been engaged in grandstanding and seeking media coverage, pointing an accusing finger at President Duterte for the result of the quo warranto petition filed against her,” Roque said.

The Palace official also said that there is no reason for President Duterte to resign as the President did not violate the Constitution like Sereno.

“Wala po kaming nakikitang dahilan para magresign ang ating Presidente. Sa kaso po ni Chief Justice, siya po ang lumabag ng Saligang Batas (We don’t see any reason for the President to resign. In the case of the Chief Justice, she’s the one who violated the Constitution),” Roque said.

“Hindi po siya sumunod sa requirement na magsampa ng statement of assets, liability, and net worth. So wala pong kahit anong probisyon ng Saligang Batas na nilabag ang Presidente (She did not file her SALN. The President, on the other hand, did not violate any provision of the Constitution),” he added.

Roque also said that unlike Sereno, Duterte enjoys high satisfaction, approval, performance, and trust ratings from the Filipino people.

Meanwhile, Roque said that while the Palace finds this development as unfortunate, he noted that Sereno should realize that her ouster was caused by her own doing.

“Mukhang may problema naman talaga po si Chief Justice sa pakikitungo sa mga kasama niya sa Korte Suprema… Pero dito kay Chief Justice, siguro dahil sa mga problema niya sa mga kasamahan niya eh parang sila na ang nagsama-sama laban sa kanya (It seems like the Chief Justice really has problems with dealing with her colleagues in the Supreme Court. Maybe her problem with her colleagues caused them to unite against her),” he said.

“So ang aking advice po kay Chief Justice, wala pong ibang sisisihin kundi ang inyong sarili sa inyong pagkakatanggal sa Korte Suprema. Tumingin lang po kayo sa salamin at ang makikita niyong imahe, ‘yan po ang responsable sa pagkakatanggal sa inyo (So my advice to the Chief Justice, she has nothing to blame for her ouster bu herself. Just look at the mirror and the image you’ll see is the one responsible for your removal),” he added.

President Duterte on Wednesday insisted that he had no role in the Supreme Court’s decision to oust their Chief Justice, saying that he will resign if anybody can prove that he meddled with the affairs of the Judiciary.

“[If] there was one congresswoman or congressman, or Justice, single Justice magsabi may kinausap ako diyan na (who can say that I spoke with someone about it) — I can guarantee you, I will resign,” Duterte said Wednesday evening.

“At tanungin niyo maski sino (Ask anybody). I never lifted a finger… Kaya ngayon (So now) I challenge everybody and anybody,” he added.

Duterte had earlier vowed to push for Sereno’s ouster and urged the Congress to hurry up with the impeachment trial. However on Wednesday night, he said that he was just emotional after the former Chief Justice accused him of orchestrating her ousting.

“Sinabi ko na sa inyo huwag. Mag-init ang ulo ko. I get emotional. Sinabi ko na sa iyo, kanya wala akong kasali diyan (I told you to not involve me or I will get angry. I get emotional. I already told her that I have no role),” he said.

“Sinabi ko na (I already said that) it’s not my habit. Hindi ko talaga (It’s not my) — it’s out of my character to do that. Hindi ako nanghahabol ng tao (I do not run after my political opponents),” he added.

Malacañang had earlier defended Duterte from accusations that the he had a hand in the decision against Sereno. The Palace also appealed to the public to respect the decision of the Supreme Court to oust its Chief Justice.