Duterte declares war vs Sereno
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to take the necessary steps to boot Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno out of the Supreme Court.
With this statement, the President formally declared war against Sereno.
“I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court,” a seething President Duterte said in a press conference in Davao before flying to China on Monday.
“I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress go into the impeachment right away,” he added.
The President said he would tell Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to speed up the impeachment process against Sereno.
“I would ask Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast-track the impeachment. She is bad for the Philippines,” he said.
“Now this time, I’m asking the congressmen and the Speaker, ‘Do it now. ‘Wag ninyong dramahin (Don’t add drama to it). Or else, I will do it for you,’” he added.
The President erupted in anger after Sereno on Monday said the President should explain why he has repeatedly said that he had no hand in her impeachment, yet Solicitor General Jose Calida initiated the the quo warranto petition against her.
President Duterte said he had been telling Sereno that he had no hand in the impeachment complaint against her but she continued to “talk and talk.”
“Ikaw Sereno, sinabi ko na sa ‘yo hindi ako nakialam (I’m telling you, Sereno, that I didn’t meddle). If you are insisting, then count me in. Count me in and I will egg Calida to do his best. Ako na mismo ang maglakad, [ka]kalaban sa’yo (I will be the one to do it, I’ll fight you,),” he said.
“P*t*ng *n* e sinabi nang ‘di ako nakikialam e. Sabihin mo sa kanya, let the world know. Talagang makialam ako. Ako nagpapasensya lang ako, babae,” he added.
(I told you I didn’t meddle. Tell her now, let the world know, I will now interfere. I’m just really patient when it comes to women.)
Her statement, the President said, was creating a crisis in the country.
“You do not create any crisis in this country (because) I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal I will do it,” Duterte added.
But with Sereno’s insistence, Duterte said he would “beat” the Chief Justice and would even help investigators against her.
“Sinasabi ko na sa ‘yo na hindi ako nakikialam. O sige ka diyan, daldal ng daldal, upakan kita (I told you that I don’t meddle in this. Now that you keep talking, I will beat you up). I will help any investigator,” he said.
The President urged Congress to proceed with the impeachment of Sereno right away.
“I will see to it and after that, I will request the Congress, go into the impeachment right away,” he said.
He said he would now personally meddle in the impeachment of Sereno and forcibly remove her from office.
“Ngayon makialam talaga ako (Now, I will really interfere). I am asking Congress, what’s taking you too long? Do not create any crisis in this country. I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal, I will do it,” he said.
President Duterte said the problem was Sereno wanted to get special treatment.
“Who is she to get special treatment,” he said.
“A teacher who failed to file a statement of assets and liabilities was removed but this woman, who earned attorneys fees and from the government (would not file)?” he asked.
He said Sereno had to go and he was “asking the congressmen and the Speaker (to) do it.”
“Don’t put up a show or else I will do it for you,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin of the opposition Magnificent Seven bloc said President’s Duterte’s call “clearly manifests his totalitarian nature and abhorrence to democratic values.”
“It is indeed a day full of ironies when a President orders a co-equal branch in Congress to fast-track an impeachment against the Chief Justice whom he declares an enemy,” Villarin said in a statement.
“The President is playing ‘god’ and arrogating unto himself powers over Congress and the Speaker meekly submitting to his whims,” he added. With a report from Vince Nonato, PDI
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