Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Unchecked, unbalanced

Apr 12, 2018

PRESIDENT RODRIGO Duterte’s livid response to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s acceptance speech in the Parangal Ng Kagitingan awards displays how he has swept away the checks and balances so necessary for democracies to function.

An irate Duterte said he would personally ensure Sereno’s ouster from the Supreme Court: “I will egg (Solicitor General) Calida to do his best. Ako na mismo maglakad, magkalaban sa ‘yo.”

Duterte also said he would ask Congress to “go into the impeachment right away” and “to ask Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast track the impeachment of Sereno.”

Directly addressing Sereno, Duterte said: “Sige ka diyan, daldal nang daldal, sige, upakan kita. I will help any investigator, talagang upakan kita. I am putting you on notice na I am now your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court.”

In declaring himself an enemy of the Chief Justice and guaranteeing her ouster from the Supreme Court, the President also declared war on a Constitution that clearly stipulates the co-equal status of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

Likewise, his brusque order for the House of Representatives to fast track an impeachment process his solicitor general has tried to derail gives lie to his efforts to wash his hands off this persecution of Sereno.

Speaker Alvarez’s swift assurance that his lord’s order be done only cements the reputation of the House of Representatives as a chamber of servile, venal politicians who have reduced Congress to a rubber stamp of Malacañang.

We challenge Supreme Court justices: pull back from the brink. Show the tyrant that there are lines you will not cross.

But we are sure of one thing. Even if our so-called democratic institutions crumble from the rot of corruption and the iron-hand of tyrannical rule, the Filipino people will resist, we will not give up the fight.

(Statement of the Movement Against Tyranny dated April 10, 2018)

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