Philippines says President Duterte’s tirades vs Chief Justice Sereno not an attack to judiciary


President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Congress to fast track the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Presidential photo/Robinson Niñal Jr.
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( – April 18, 2018 – 4:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should not be interpreted as an attack to the co-equal judiciary branch, Malacañang said Wednesday.

“The President’s rebuke of the Chief Justice must therefore be taken as a dislike of the Chief Justice and not an attack to the judiciary or an affront to judicial independence,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

This statement was made in response to a lawyers groups’ report to the United Nations special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers narrating how the Duterte government attacks the judiciary.

Several lawyers’ groups, headed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, urged UN special rapporteur Diego Garcia-Sayan to take action on Duterte’s attacks against Sereno.

“The recent tirades of the president against the chief justice do not sound at all foreboding. They rather expectedly punctuate the long-winded attacks on judicial independence that began almost two years ago, when the chief justice dared resist an apparent intrusion into judicial power,” the groups said.

Roque, on the other hand, stressed that some justices of the Supreme Court have testified against Sereno during House impeachment hearings.

“The Chief Justice was made to go on indefinite leave by her colleagues to protect the integrity and reputation of the court after it became clear that the CJ failed to file some of her annual SALN,” Roque said.

He added that Duterte’s remarks against the chief justice, head of a co-equal branch, were only “reaction to these accusations.”

In the report submitted to the UN special rapporteur, the lawyers’ groups narrated how Duterte declared Sereno as an “enemy” during a speech on April 9.

The president had also asked the Congress to fast track the impeachment proceeding against Sereno.




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