De Lima says Sereno ouster aims to cover up Palace failures
The impeachment bid against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was not only meant to remove her from office and “cover up” the President’s failures but also to condition the public to the possibility of a society “ruled not by law, but by the whims and caprices of a sociopath.”
So said Senator Leila de Lima in her “commentary” released to the media on Tuesday.
De Lima believes that Sereno’s impeachment would serve President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration two purposes: First, to remove a non-Duterte ally and replace her with a “more pliant Chief Justice beholden to the President” and to “cover up the failures of the President.”
“The charges against CJ Sereno are of course all flimsy, if not baseless. But that does not matter, when Duterte’s intent is to weaken institutions capable of keeping his power in check and within constitutional limits,” she said.
The senator noted that the process of impeachment itself under conditions of persecution automatically undermines the capability of the Chief Justice to lead the judiciary in checking the abuse of authority of the Executive Department.
“It gives the President free rein in committing acts which should otherwise go unchecked by a judiciary that is not itself under attack or threatened by the two other branches,” she said.
“This is why the impeachment of Sereno is doubly dangerous and alarming at a time when the President himself shamelessly and in a cavalier manner raises the specter of grabbing absolute power by overthrowing constitutional government and installing a so-called revolutionary government.”
De Lima believes that the impeachment was also meant to divert the attention of the public from the government’s “incompetence and failures.”
“Because if the President is going to grab absolute power anyway, then why still bother to remove the Chief Justice, unless the impeachment is exactly diversionary in nature,” she said.
“On the other hand, removing the Chief Justice and declaring a revolutionary government are also complementary in Duterte’s plans for establishing a dictatorship,” she added.
De Lima said Duterte might planning to legitimize his “dictatorship” with a Supreme Court decision ratifying his revolutionary government like what the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos did, and “to justify the continuity of his leadership, from legitimate President under the 1987 Constitution, to an outlaw dictator and absolute despot under a revolutionary government.”
“Given all these possible scenarios, one thing is clear. Duterte and his deception machinery is successful in diverting the people’s attention from the issues that destroy his popularity, while at the same time conditioning public opinion to the possibility of a society ruled not by law, but by the whims and caprices of a sociopath,” she pointed out.
The senator said all the hype about the impeachment and revolutionary government was “misleading and misdirection.”
It was, she said, a “classic textbook deception” to hide the issues that continued to hound Duterte and his administration like his refusal to sign a bank waiver, the P6.5 Billion worth of shabu smuggled by the Davao Group, the alleged 13,000 dead in government’s war on drugs, the “treason” in the Spratlys and surrender of the West Philippine Sea to China, among others.
“In short, this is the obscurantism of a regime that has all but failed to govern and lead the nation, instead isolating it from the global community with its barbaric position on human rights as bannered by an indecent and shameless head of state,” she said.
“This is an obscurantist government led by a President honed in the art of deception, lying, and blatant twisting of the truth. We must be wary not to take our eyes off from the ball.
“And that ball is Duterte leading this nation to chaos and tyranny because all his solutions do not work, possessed as he is by a world-view that does not offer life and progress, only death and destruction,” De Lima further said. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.