Duterte apologizes to Sereno: ‘Harsh words never intended’
PRESIDENT Duterte on Thursday night apologized to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, days after sharply rebuking the chief magistrate for questioning his list of judges allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
“I get tangled with the Chief Justice. I would apologize to the Chief Justice for the harsh words. It was never intended,” Duterte said in a televised news briefing in Davao City.
“Ako kasi because of the magnitude of the problem, it is my way of solving my problem within the ambit of my powers as President,” he added.
Duterte hinted that his outburst was triggered when reporters asked him to react to Sereno’s concern.
“Kayo ang humihingi eh, even the media…kaya…,” he added.
Warning of a possible constitutional crisis, Sereno, in a letter, reminded the President of the separation of powers that is enshrined in the Constitution.
Sereno also questioned the intelligence report that linked the judges to illegal drugs trade in the country.
She cautioned the judges from turning themselves in to police custody, reminding them that only the Supreme Court has the sole authority to discipline them.
“It would matter greatly to our sense of constitutional order if we were given the chance to administer the appropriate preventive measures without the complications of a premature public announcement,” Sereno said in the four-page letter.
But Duterte lashed back at Sereno, warning her to get out of his way in his no-nonsense war against illegal drugs or he would declare martial law.
“I’m giving you a warning. Don’t create a crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you,” Duterte said.
“Please do not, you say, create a constitutional issue. There will be. Don’t order me, I’m telling you. I hope you are listening,” he added.
Duterte reiterated that he was just doing his duty to inform the public of the condition of their society when he announced the personalities, including the judges, who allegedly involved in the drug trade.
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