SERENO SLAMS DUTERTE, URGES HIM TO RESIGN

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Jhes­set O. Enano and Jodee A. Agoncillo @Team_In­quirer —WITH A RE­PORT FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO

For­mer Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno on Thurs­day urged Pres­i­dent Duterte to resign, chid­ing him for re­peat­edly deny­ing that he had a hand on bids to re­move her from of­fice.

In a strongly worded speech at a fo­rum or­ga­nized by the In­te­grated Bar of the Philip­pines and the le­gal al­liance Mga Mananang­gol Laban sa Ex­tra­ju­di­cial Killings at IBP Build­ing in Pasig City, Sereno de­scribed Mr. Duterte as the “be­gin­ning and end of all this mess.”

She was re­fer­ring to her May 11 ouster from the top ju­di­cial post, not through im­peach­ment but through a quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion by Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida and granted by the Supreme Court.

On Wed­nes­day night, Mr. Duterte said for the nth time he had noth­ing to do with Sereno’s ouster.

“It’s out of my char­ac­ter to do that,” Mr. Duterte told re­porters in Mala­cañang. “I never lifted a fin­ger.”

He said he would resign if it could be proven that he had asked any­one, whether law­mak­ers or Supreme Court jus­tices, to re­move Sereno from of­fice.

‘I’m now your en­emy’

In a speech in Davao City on April 9, Mr. Duterte de­clared him­self Sereno’s “en­emy,” and asked the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to speed up her im­peach­ment.

“I’m putting you ( Sereno) on no­tice that I’m now your en­emy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Duterte said.

“I’m ask­ing the con­gress­men and the Speaker: Do it now. Cut the drama or else I will do it for you,” Mr. Duterte said.

“Didn’t he say that?” Sereno said, re­spond­ing to a re­porter’s ques­tion after speak­ing at the Ate­neo le­gal fo­rum on Thurs­day.

“How many times have we heard from him that he would resign? His ad­mis­sion [of] his in­volve­ment came from his own mouth,” Sereno said.

“Well, Mr. Pres­i­dent, resign now,” she said.

Sereno also lam­basted Mr. Duterte for claim­ing Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping had given him his per­sonal as­sur­ance that China would not al­low him to be re­moved from of­fice.

She called Mr. Duterte’s re­marks, made in a speech aboard a naval ves­sel in Casig­u­ran, Aurora prov­ince, an “in­tensely deep be­trayal of the Filipinos.”

“What pre­vails in him is not fear of God, not ac­count­abil­ity to the peo­ple, but seek­ing help from a for­eign gov­ern­ment,” she added.

Sereno’s sup­port­ers led by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ma­jor Re­li­gious Su­pe­ri­ors in the Philip­pines spon­sored a sol­i­dar­ity Mass for her at Ate­neo de Manila Uni­ver­sity, which was at­tended by for­mer Chief Jus­tice Hi­lario Da­vide Jr.

—JAMSTA. ROSA

SOL­I­DAR­ITY MASS Re­tired Chief Jus­tice Hi­lario Da­vide Jr. joins ousted Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno in a sol­i­dar­ity Mass spon­sored by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ma­jor Re­li­gious Su­pe­ri­ors in the Philip­pines at Ate­neo de Manila Uni­ver­sity on Thurs­day.

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