‘I will not bow down to powers that be – Sereno | Inquirer News

‘I will not bow down to powers that be – Sereno

/ 07:27 AM April 10, 2018

“I will not bow down to the powers that be,” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said on Monday, suggesting that President Rodrigo Duterte is behind the moves to remove her from office.

Speaking at an Araw ng Kagitingan event in Quezon City, Sereno disclosed that well-meaning friends had advised her to compromise or give in temporarily for her own sake, but she refused.

“I must retain the ability to look at every citizen in the eye and say, ‘Fight on with courage, never yield, never give up, never surrender,’” she said.


‘Woman of courage’


The event, organized by the Movement Against Tyranny, honored Sereno for being a “woman of courage.”

Sereno challenged the President to prove that he was not behind the bid in the House of Representatives to impeach her, and demanded he explain the “unconstitutional” actions of Solicitor General Jose Calida, who had brought a quo warranto petition in the Supreme Court questioning the legitimacy of her appointment as Chief Justice.

“Mr. President, if you have no involvement here, then explain why Calida, who reports to you, filed the quo warranto petition. You must explain to the people: Why this unconstitutional act?” Sereno said.

She said Malacañang could deny that Mr. Duterte had a hand in the efforts to impeach her, but the Filipino people were “smart.”

Sereno’s speech was a departure from her typically measured tone, particularly when referring to the Presidents’s involvement in the moves to remove her from the top post in the judiciary.

She also threw jabs at Calida, Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, who testified against her at the impeachment hearings in the House, and lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, who brought the complaint for her impeachment.


“I do not even know [how] the complainant (Gadon) looks like. He was not present in any [Supreme Court] activities, yet he said under oath that his information about what I’ve done is based on personal knowledge,” she said.

‘Hand behind the scenes’

“It cannot be denied that there is a hand moving behind the scenes,” Sereno continued, asking why the letter she sent to Mr. Duterte in August 2016, in which she reminded him that the Supreme Court had the sole authority to discipline the judges that he had linked to the illegal drug trade, became part of the impeachment complaint against her.

Sereno slammed Calida for his “laughable” attempts to fish through her records from her days as an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines.

“What could I steal from UP? Is there wealth for me to hide given my salary there?” she asked.

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As for the mounting calls for her to resign, Sereno said: “For what reason, simply because they do not like me? Is that the measure of leadership? I was not appointed to be [their pal].”

TAGS: Jose Calida, Lorenzo Gadon, Rodrigo Duterte, Supreme Court

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