Palace downplays Sereno’s call for anti-Duterte protest
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang downplayed Tuesday the call of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for Filipinos to join the protests against the abuses under the Duterte administration.
Sereno on Tuesday said she will join demonstrations during President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sereno is free to exercise her freedom of expression.
“If she will join the opposition to exercise her freedom of expression, then by all means, we will egg her to do that,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Asked about Sereno’s call for Filipinos to join the rallies against Duterte, the Palace official said “legitimate” expression of grievances against the government is welcome.
“Baka naman she wants to join the rallies. Okay lang naman sa amin ang mga rallies against this government,” he said.
“In fact, it’s the President who encourages that. Because under the Constitution: legitimate grievances against the government can be freely expressed,” he added.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said Sereno’s call is not considered inciting to sedition.
“No,” he briefly responded after a reporter asked if the former magistrate’s call was seditious.
But Panelo warned individuals of performing “acts which are seditious as defined by law.”
“Like for instance, when you incite people to hate a particular public official like the President, that’s seditious; you incite them to not to follow the laws, that’s seditious,” he said. /je
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