Duterte not ‘bullying’ Sereno: Palace

MANILA Malacanang on Friday refuted the claim of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that she is being bullied by President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the Chief Executive has nothing to do with the move to impeach her.

There is no need for President to bully her, she has done a magnificent job at alienating her own colleagues, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Facebook interview.

Recently, Sereno was asked by 13 Supreme Court (SC) justices to go on an indefinite leave with some of them even calling for her resignation to save the judiciary from further humiliation.

It was her colleagues themselves, not the President, who have said that she is not worthy. The President has been spared from doing that by her own colleagues, he said.

Roque said Duterte was just merely allowing the impeachment process to go on in accordance with the Constitution.

What I don't like is what she has been saying lately that the President was the reason she is being removed from office, Roque said.

Last Thursday, the House committee on justice overwhelmingly voted, 38-2, in finding probable cause to impeach Sereno.

For his part, Presidential Legal Counsel Chief Salvador Panelo described Sereno's bully claim as totally baseless.

The law commands that if a member of the judiciary is disqualified to hold the same then such Justice must be ousted therefrom. The plaint of CJ Sereno that she is being bullied by PRRD or by the Duterte administration is totally baseless, Panelo said in a press statement.

Panelo, meanwhile, said the claim that the petition for quo warranto filed against the top magistrate will trigger constitutional crisis should SC rules that Sereno's appointment is void is from the beginning, infinitely fallacious.

So is the case that acquiring jurisdiction over the case is tantamount to stealing from Congress the power to remove an impeachable official expressly granted to it by the Constitution, he added.

Panelo said the SC has to resolve whether Sereno's non-filing of her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 10 consecutive years is proof that Sereno has no integrity.

Another issue that the SC may resolve is on the matter of competence of SJ Sereno given that she failed in her psychological tests, Panelo said.

The constitutional requirement of competence is not limited to the nominee's academic qualification and the fifteen years law practice but it may include psychological fitness, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency