Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Philippines: Supreme Court’s ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice — Did the Court violate the Constitution?

May 18, 2018
 / 05:38 AM May 18, 2018

The resolution signed by a simple majority of senators expressing “the sense of the Senate” on the Supreme Court’s ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice should be seen primarily for what it really, actually, is: an appeal, by members of a coequal and coordinate branch of government to the members of another branch of government, to reconsider its unusual and unfortunate decision. It is an opportunity for the Court to step back from the edge of a constitutional abyss.

It is different from a motion for reconsideration because it is the product of a legislative process, not a judicial one. But the objective, as the title of the measure suggests, is the same: “to uphold the Constitution on the matter of removing a Chief Justice from office.” It is a forceful reminder, to both Court and country, that the duty to uphold the Constitution is not limited to the Court as its arbiters, but also to other agencies of the government tasked, by the Constitution itself, with specific responsibilities.

It is unfortunate that 12 of the 14 senators who signed the resolution did not join the petition filed by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima to intervene in the quo warranto case against Sereno; the petition was based on precisely the same argument that frames the resolution—according to the Constitution, only the Senate can remove an impeachable official from his or her post. When the Court used the quo warranto case to justify Sereno’s removal, it trespassed into the mandate of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, and violated the Constitution. If more senators had joined the petition, perhaps the Court would have done more than merely note its filing.

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But it is even more unfortunate that the Court ruled, by a narrow majority of 8-6, the way it did, because the ruling “transgresses the exclusivepowers” (to borrow the language of the Senate resolution) of not only one but three agencies of government given special constitutional responsibilities.

The first is the Senate. In his dissenting opinion, the most senior and most respected member of the Court, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, reminded the majority that: “The House impeaches, and the Senate convicts. This is the only method allowed under the Constitution to remove a member of this Court. To allow any other method is to re-write the Constitution. To permit this quo warranto petition to remove an incumbent member of this Court is to violate the Constitution.”

This is what every single lawyer was taught before the majority voted to oust Sereno through quo warranto. This is the set of exclusive powers that the Senate (belatedly) seeks to preserve.

The second agency whose exclusive powers the Court transgressed is the Judicial and Bar Council. Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe’s separate opinion is an extended exploration of the role of the JBC in crafting the criteria of “integrity” and the need to respect its selection of judicial nominees. “Thus, if grave abuse of discretion has not been asserted nor was it attributed against the JBC, which was not even made a party to this case, then the qualification of respondent [Sereno], as embodied in her shortlisting by the JBC, should be maintained. For these reasons, the present petition for quo warranto is infirm.”

What the majority did essentially was disregard the JBC’s finding that Sereno, when she applied for the position of chief justice in 2012, was qualified and had met all the requirements (including the new one involving statements of assets, liabilities and net worth).

And the third agency of government whose exclusive powers the Court transgressed? The Supreme Court itself. Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa’s dissenting opinion listed the casualties of the majority’s war against Sereno—“the independence of the entire Judiciary, the independence of the Court’s individual members, and the freedom of discourse with the Court”—and lamented that the Court had lost its dignity following the bidding of the Solicitor General: “I view with deep shame and regret this day when the Court has ousted one of its sitting members upon the prodding of a mere agency of a separate coordinate department.”

Would that the Senate resolution, together with the powerful and pained responses from within the legal community, help stop the Court from taking that one final step into the abyss.

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Philippine Legal Experts Say Removal of Chief Justice was Wrong, Senate Must Act — “We are facing a constitutional crisis and it is up to other institutions of government to uphold that Constitutional process.”

May 17, 2018
It is now up to the Senate to assert its constitutional mandate as the only body with the power to remove a chief justice, one of the members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission said Thursday.

By Kristine Joy Patag ( – May 17, 2018 – 6:08pm

Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the constitution, said on Thursday: “Senate should protest because the exercise of Supreme Court civil action is a derogation of the powers of the Senate, who co-opted this process.”

Monsod was one of the speakers at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines forum on the SC ruling in Republic v Sereno that resulted in the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Monsod stressed: “We are facing a constitutional crisis and it is up to other institutions of government to uphold that Constitutional process.”

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

He said that it was the Senate that was “hurt” when the SC asserted that they have jurisdiction over the petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida that removed Sereno as head of the Judiciary.

READ: Sereno on Duterte vow to quit if proven he had hand in ouster: Resign

“The people are watching what they will do,” Monsod added.

As of Thursday morning, at least 13 senators have signed a resolution questioning the landmark SC ruling. While a copy of the resolution has yet to be made available to the media, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that it will be an expression of the Senate body that the quo warranto petition as an ouster of Sereno is inconsistent with the Constitution.

Resolutions do not have the force of law.

READ: 13 senators back resolution questioning SC ruling on quo warranto

The historic ruling reaped strong opposition from the legal profession, from lawmakers, and from human rights advocacy groups.

They argued that under the 1987 Constitution provides that a chief justice may only be removed through impeachment—a power vested in Congress and not the Supreme Court.



Philippine Government Blast EU For Interfering Human Rights, War On Drugs — “What do they care how many die here? They can all go to hell.”

April 20, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 05:22 PM April 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

Where are the 12,000 drug war deaths?

Malacañang hit back on Friday at the European Parliament for issuing a resolution urging the Philippines to stop its war on drugs, claiming it is marred by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

The EU Parliament also called on the Philippines to release Sen. Leila de Lima and give her a fair trial and remove the terrorists tag against human rights defenders in the country.

“We of course find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements. ,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

In this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte jokes to photographers as he holds an Israeli-made Galil rifle which was presented to him by outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, at the turnover-of-command ceremony at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte told the crowd he will not stop his so-called war on drugs until his last day in office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Source: AP

In their latest resolution, the EU Parliament also noted the death of 12,000 individuals in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration does not engage in extrajudicial killings .

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“Ang sabi po nila, 12,000 na raw po ang namatay. Nasaan po iyong mga bangkay, at nasaan po iyong mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?  Roque asked.

“Kakaunti lang po ang alam naming mga demanda tungkol dito sa mga patayan na ito, and we of course challenge them – saan po iyong mga datos, saan ang ebidensiya na 12,000 ang namatay na?” he added.

Roque reiterated that the government does not tolerate impunity.

“Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he said.

“Hindi po natin kinukusinti ang mga patayan. Ang ating mga institusyon ay gumagalaw po para bigyan ng implementasyon ang ating batas laban sa patayan (We do not tolerate these deaths. Our institutions are working to implement the laws against killings),” he added.

The war on drugs under the Duterte administration has received international condemnation from rights groups for alleged human rights abuses by police authorities.

De Lima arrest legal

Roque also slammed the EU Parliament, saying the arrest and detention of de Lima followed strict legal procedures.

“The arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima on illegal drug charges which follows strict legal procedures has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court of the Philippines,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the plea for reconsideration of De Lima to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

“Ngayong linggo lang po ito, Korte Suprema na ang nagbasura noong Motion for Reconsideration ni Leila De Lima na kinukuwestiyon iyong legalidad ng information laban sa kaniya. Ano pong gagawin natin? Korte Suprema na nagsabi, dalawang beses; hindi lang isang beses na legal ‘yan,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the judicial system in the Philippines is working.

“Gumagana po ang hudikatura dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po naimpluwensiyahan ng mga pulitiko ang mga lower courts at ang Korte Supreme dito sa Pilipinas dahil ngayon po, menorya pa lang ang naa-appoint na mga justices ng ating Pangulo sa Supreme Court,” he said.

He daid the executive branch does not interfere with the decision of the judiciary.

Terrorist tag

Roque said human rights defenders tagged as terrorist by the government were being given due process and the right to be heard.

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is included in the list of terrorist because of intelligence information. Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,” he said.

He said Corpuz was not yet a terrorist as her case was still in court.

“Hindi pa naman siya nababansagang terorista; kinakailangan munang magkaroon ng order sa hukuman. So binibigyan po siya ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng pagkakataon na marinig. Magsumite po siya ng ebidensiya na hindi siya terorista, at pabayaan natin ang hukuman magdesisyon,” he said.

Roque said it would be the court and not foreigner lawmakers who would decide and whether Corpuz would be tagged as a terrorist.

“We thus call on the members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions,” he said.

“We understand a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he added.

In its World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch said President Rodrigo Duterte dragged the Philippines into a serious human rights crisis since the dictatorship of late Ferdinand Marcos, whom Duterte had praised in the past. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

PH removal from UN

Roque also addressed the plan of the EU Parliament for the removal of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Well that’s not a decision to be made by the European parliament. That’s a decision to be made by the UN system itself. The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly, that’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he said.



Cayetano dares HRW: Show proof 12,000 were killed in PH drug war
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 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


All this makes one wonder: does the Philippines know what it is doing with China? In the South China Sea?  Benham Rise? Is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ICC, and is Agnes Callamard  (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the UN) correct in saying the Philippines is guilty of gross illegalities under international law? Is the Philippine government being run by people who don’t understand the law? Is the move for a “Federal form of Government” based upon any good thinking?


 (No man is above the law…)


The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

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Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)




Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Pakistan Chief Justice Orders Shut Down of “Quack” Doctors

April 20, 2018

Dawn (Pakistan)

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health commission chairman to shut down all quack doctors in the province, giving him a week’s time to do so.

The chief justice issued those directives while hearing a case against quack doctors at the Supreme Court registry in Peshawar today.

Image result for quack doctors, pakistan

Road-side “medical care” in Pakistan is still common

Justice Nisar grilled chairman health commission for not doing enough against quack doctors, saying: “You draw a salary of Rs500,000 but your output is zero. It’s your duty to take action on the matter.”

Upon being told that there are as many as 15,000 quacks in KP, the chief justice asked for a comprehensive inquiry report on the issue.

Justice Nisar set a one-week deadline for the health commission chairman to take province-wide action against quacks, making it clear that “no stay orders will be issued in this case.”

“If anyone wants a stay order then they should come to the Supreme Court,” he advised.

CJP in Peshawar

CJP Nisar, who is on a two-day official visit to Peshawar, had summoned KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday and told him that he had heard a lot about PTI’s good governance but the situation on the ground was different.

The bench had expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the KP government in the social sector — including health, education and provision of potable water — regretting that not a single standard hospital or school had been set up in the provincial capital by the government over the past five years.

The bench during yesterday’s hearing had directed the inspectors general of police of the four provinces and Islamabad to withdraw security provided to unauthorised persons by Friday (today).


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

April 18, 2018


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.



Philippines Watches as Elected President in a Democracy Becomes Something Else Entirely — Names Supreme Court Chief Justice His “Enemy” — Rule of Law?

April 11, 2018
 / 05:10 AM April 11, 2018

President Duterte has taken the velvet glove off the iron hand.

Before he left for the Boao Forum in China, he called Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of the Supreme Court an “enemy,” and vowed he would remove her from office.

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” an angry President said in a news conference. “I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress go into the impeachment right away.”

“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court”

What triggered the President’s outright declaration of enmity? What provoked his declaration of political war?

Sereno — forced to go on indefinite leave from the Court by an unwieldy coalition of justices, facing both a patently unconstitutional quo warranto proceeding before the Court and certain impeachment in the House of Representatives — has been accepting unending invitations to speak in all sorts of public forums, and in the last one she raised the obvious question: If the President says he is not behind the twin moves to oust her, why was it Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government’s chief lawyer and a close ally of the President’s, who filed the quo warranto case against her?

Even in the polite Filipino she used, there was no mistaking the direct challenge she had laid at the President’s door: “Mr. President, kung sinabi mong wala kang kinalaman dito, paki paliwanag po bakit si SolGen Calida na nagrereport sa ’yo ang nag-file ng quo warranto?”

President Duterte took personal offense. In a mix of Filipino and English, he said: “You, Sereno, I told you I did not interfere. If you are insisting, then count me in. Count me in and I will egg Calida to do his best. I myself will do it, fight you.”

And: “Son of a bitch, I said I did not interfere. Tell her, let the world know. [Now] I will really get involved.”

And again: “I was telling you that I did not interfere. Now look what you’ve done, talking and talking, I will beat you up. I will help any investigator.”

And, one last time: “Now I will really get involved. I am asking Congress: What’s taking you too long? Do not create any crisis in this country. 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.”

It is no secret that Sereno has been on the wrong side of the President’s personal ledger since she defended the independence of the judiciary when, at the start of the President’s signature campaign against drugs, he pinpointed judges he said were implicated in the illegal drug trade.

Speaking for the Supreme Court, Sereno calmly welcomed the President’s allegations but firmly insisted that the judiciary, being a branch of government designed to be independent of the two political branches, must follow its own procedures in determining the guilt or innocence of any accused judges. It was downhill from there.

There was even an exchange of views that led the President to exclaim, “Or would you rather I will declare martial law?”

Since August 2016, when the two heads of coequal branches of government conducted what amounted to a debate held through public forums or press conferences, Sereno had always sought not to directly challenge the President.

Her statements, while growing increasingly sharp, were still couched in polite diplomatic language.

Her speech last Monday directly challenging the President was a departure from previous practice — and it must have been deliberate.

The question then is: Why did Sereno seemingly sign her own death warrant, so to speak, by taking on the President?

Because it sharpens the issues facing Sereno. The impeachment complaint in Congress was of course a political stratagem; how else could an incoherent complaint filed by an incompetent lawyer survive a lengthy proceeding if not for the political will of the leaders running the proceeding?

Now the President himself has confirmed that he wants the House of Representatives to hurry up.

Sereno has reached the point where the only possibility of legal and constitutional salvation lies in an impeachment trial in the Senate.

By provoking the President, she has succeeded in forcing the hand of the House.

But why was the House taking so long, when impeachment is a foregone conclusion?

Because House leaders are waiting for the Supreme Court to take the unconstitutional option of unseating an official identified by the Constitution as removable only by impeachment through another means — the quo warranto case.

Sereno’s challenge has led the President to paint the justices into a corner. If they oust her, whatever reasons they use they will be seen, forever, as mere errand boys and girls, carrying out the command of an angry executive.

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Philippine Lawmaker Urges Congress: Protest Duterte’s meddling in Sereno case

April 10, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @MAgerINQ
 / 03:24 PM April 10, 2018
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. PHOTO/CATHY MIRANDA

Congress should protest President Rodrigo Duterte’s meddling in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Tuesday.

While Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was quick to say that the House  would heed Duterte’s call to fast-track the impeachment complaint against Sereno, Trillanes  said  senators would try to be objective as much as possible when the complaint reaches the Senate.

“Kung ang perspective ang pinag uusapan natin dun sa being part of the checks and balances system e dapat magrereklamo ang legislature dito sa panghihimasok ni Duterte at pagbu-bully sa legislature,” Trillanes, a staunch critic of the President, said in a press briefing.

Asked if he expects the Senate to protest Duterte’s  order, Trillanes said: “No. I am not expecting anything from Senator Koko Pimentel dahil hindi ko alam kung alam nya yung trabaho nya e bilang Senate President.”

On Monday, Duterte said he  would ask Alvarez to “kindly fast-track the impeachment” against Sereno, saying the latter is bad for the Philippines.

“I’m putting you (Sereno) on notice that I’m now your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” the President said in a speech before flying for China.

“I will ask Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez now, kindly fast-track the impeachment. She is bad for the Philippines,”  he added. Alvarez   said the House would heed the President’s request when  Congress resumes its sessions in May.

READ: Duterte to House: Rush Sereno impeachment

Trillanes said  Duterte’s meddling in Sereno’s impeachment should serve as a challenge to the Supreme Court, which is deliberating  the quo warranto petition filed against the Chief Justice.

The petition initiated by Solicitor General Jose Calida also seeks Sereno’s ouster for allegedly  violating the constitutional requirements for eligibility when she failed to submit her complete statement of assets, liabilities and net worth before the Judicial bar Council.

READ: SolGen asks SEC: Kick out Sereno

“Challenge ito sa Supreme Court. Ngayon lumabas na ang tunay na nasa likod sa pagpapaalis kay Chief Justice Sereno. So  challenge dito sa Supreme Court to show their independence. Pakita nila kasi yung quo warranto na yan illegal yan, bawal yan unconstitutional yan,” Trillanes said.

“Pag tinanggal nila itong si Chief Justice Sereno through the quo warranto mode e hindi natin masisisi ang kababayan natin kung pagsuspetsahan na talagang namaniobra sila ni Duterte,” he said.

Philippines: Lawmaker To Obey Duterte Orders In Process to Remove Supreme Court Chief Justice — “President’s hand is on the scales of justice…”

April 9, 2018

Speaker Alvarez

Facebook/Pantaleon Alvarez
 / 04:29 PM April 09, 2018

Published: 2:37 p.m., April 9, 2018 | Updated: 4:29 p.m., April 9, 2018

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is bound to heed the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to fast-track the impeachment process against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“It will be done once we resume sessions,” Alvarez told in a text message on Monday, moments after the President said he would ask the House of Representatives to impeach Sereno right away.

Pressed if he was confident that the chief justice, who is currently  on leave, would be ousted through impeachment, Alvarez said: “Yes, we have a very strong case to impeach her.”

During Monday’s press conference in Davao City, shortly before he flew off to China, Duterte told Sereno: “I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court.”

“I will see to it. And after that, I will request Congress go to the impeachment right away,” he added.

Duterte also said he would ask Alvarez to expedite the impeachment proceedings against the top magistrate, saying she was “bad for the Philippines.”

READ: Duterte tells Sereno: You have to be out of the Supreme Court

Congress is currently on a break and will resume its session on May 14.

The articles of impeachment against Sereno are currently pending before the House, as it awaits its deliberations and approval by the plenary.    /kga /atm

Philippines’ Duterte urges ‘fast-track’ sacking of top judge

April 9, 2018



© AFP/File | Philippine Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno: under fire from Duterte

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday lawmakers must “fast-track” the impeachment of the nation’s top judge, further stacking the odds against her staying in office.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is one of several high-profile critics who have found themselves in legal trouble after battling with Duterte over his deadly anti-drug crackdown.

“I’m putting you (Sereno) on notice that I am now your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” Duterte told reporters before flying to China for an economic forum.

“I held my temper before because she’s a woman. This time I’m asking the congressmen and the Speaker: ‘Do it now. Cut out the drama, or else I will do it for you’,” he added.

A committee in the legislature’s lower chamber the House of Representatives last month found “probable cause” to impeach Sereno, in a move which critics allege is part of wider efforts by Duterte to destroy foes and usher in one-man rule.

If lawmakers in the full House support the finding, Sereno would face a US-style impeachment trial in the Senate or upper house. Congress is currently in recess and is due to reconvene May 14.

The Supreme Court is set Tuesday to hear a separate petition to unseat Sereno from the country’s highest tribunal.

She has been accused of failing to pay about two million pesos ($40,000) in taxes as well as falsifying and tampering with court resolutions.

She is also alleged to have spent excessively on “opulent” hotels and a luxury official vehicle, as well as flying business or first class.

Until Monday Duterte had repeatedly denied having anything to do with the moves to sack Sereno.

He called on House Speaker and key ally Pantaleon Alvarez to “kindly fast-track the impeachment” of Sereno.

“If it calls for your forced removal I will do it,” Duterte said, referring to Sereno.

Duterte and Sereno first clashed in 2016 when she criticised his order that judges whom he linked to the illegal drugs trade turn themselves in as part of his crackdown.

Police say they have killed roughly 4,000 drug suspects who fought back during arrest since Duterte launched the war nearly two years ago. Rights groups allege the actual number is three times higher.

Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened including detained Senator Leila de Lima, the Commission on Human Rights, and an anti-corruption prosecutor who investigated allegations Duterte has hidden wealth.


Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice: President Rodrigo Duterte has had a hand in the moves to oust her from office

April 9, 2018


Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is facing two petitions seeking her ouster.

Boy Santos
Kristine Joy Patag ( – April 9, 2018 – 1:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday said that despite the denials, it is clear that President Rodrigo Duterte has had a hand in the moves to oust her from office.

A day before she appears before her colleagues as a respondent in an ouster petition, Sereno, in one of her fiercest speeches yet, said: “You cannot deny that there is a hand moving behind these.”

“That is why I am asking for an answer: Is that the way it is, President Duterte­—I should be removed either through quo warranto or impeachment?” the chief justice also said.

Sereno was among the honorees of the Movement against Tyranny for her “courage fighting for democracy.”

The president has repeatedly distanced himself from the petitions filed against Sereno, with whom he had been at loggerheads early in his administration.

The chief magistrate is facing two petitions with the same prayer for ouster: An impeachment complaint, pending before the House plenary, and a petition for quo warranto before the Supreme Court.

Petition for quo warranto

“Mr. President, if you said that you are in no way involved in this, please explain why Solicitor General [Jose] Calida filed this (quo warranto petition), who is reporting to you?” she added in Filipino.

Solicitor General Calida also initiated a Securities and Exchange Commission into allegations of foreign ownership in news site Rappler, which has been releasing reports critical of the Duterte administration. The probe led to a SEC order canceling Rappler’s business registration, which the news website has brought to court.

Duterte himself had accused Rappler of being American owned in his State of the Nation Address in 2017.

Sereno did not mince her words in calling Calida’s petition “laughable,” and the “height of hypocrisy.” She added that what is being done to her right now reeks of “evil.”

She added that it is “embarrassing” for the Philippine government’s chief legal counsel to explain an “unconstitutional act.”

Calida and Sereno will both appear on the SC’s oral arguments of the petition seeking the nullification of the chief justice’s appointment on Tuesday, at the session hall in Baguio.

Sereno has argued that an impeachment case is the only legal course to ouster her, while Calida explained that his petition runs on different ground from an impeachment complaint.

Impeachment case

The chief justice is also facing an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

The House, in plenary, is set to vote on the impeachment articles, drafted by its justice panel, upon the resumption of its sessions.

Sereno pointed out that she has never met Gadon, whose complaint cited instances that transpired during en banc sessions, where only justices are allowed to participate.

She added that she learned that Gadon has met with Duterte before.

RELATED: Duterte seen with Sereno impeachment accuser

She said that she keeps wondering why a “very respectful” letter that she sent to Duterte in August 2016 was one of the grounds cited by Gadon in his impeachment complaint. In the said letter, Sereno pointed out that the judiciary should be allowed to investigate its own ranks after Duterte named judges who were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

“The Filipino people are smart. They understand. You do not have to spell it out for them,” she added in Filipino.

Sereno has denied all allegations against her. She is on indefinite leave from her office.