SERENO SLAMS DUTERTE, URGES HIM TO RESIGN
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.
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.