Duterte’s remarks vs. Sereno not an attack on judicial independence

MANILA Malacanang on Wednesday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte's recent remarks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was purely intended to the top magistrate and was not meant as an attack to the judiciary.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after lawyers' groups reportedly sought for urgent action from the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on Duterte's remark, calling them as an insult to judicial independence.

Roque even said the call to impeach Sereno did not originate from the Executive.

Let the facts speak for themselves: Some justices of the Supreme Court appeared in the House of Representatives and testified against the Chief Justice during the Committee on Justice impeachment hearings, Roque said.

The Chief Justice was made to go on indefinite leave by her colleagues to protect the integrity and reputation of the court after it became clear that the CJ failed to file some of her annual SALN. In addition, the SC allowed the oral arguments for the quo warranto petition, he added.

Roque said Duterte has been silent for the longest time about the move to impeach the Chief Justice.

He said the President's statement urging the House of Representative to hasten the impeachment process against Sereno was a reaction to the Chief Justice's accusation that Duterte is behind her impeachment.

The President's rebuke of the Chief Justice must therefore be taken as a dislike of the Chief Justice and not an attack to the judiciary or an affront to judicial independence, Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency