Publicado: Sáb, Marcha 10, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Duterte government asks Supreme Court to expel chief justice

Duterte government asks Supreme Court to expel chief justice

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno hits a gavel signifying the start of the oral arguments on the consolidated petitions to declare Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war unconstitutional at the Supreme Court in Manila, Philippines November 21, 2017.

Lacanilao said Sereno was not expecting any inauspicious development in House of Representatives, but was looking forward to her upcoming trial in the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

"That is why I must fight to have my day at the Senate Impeachment Court".

The Chief Justice had not even taken her seat when her fellow magistrate took the mic and censured her just concluded remarks.

"I am fighting for our future as a freedom-loving nation", the 52-year-old said, framing the case against her as an issue of "judicial independence". "But I will not yield", she added.

Duterte's critics believe the impeachment move is motivated by the administration being uncomfortable with the fact she is due to hold the Supreme Court's top post until 2030, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Removing her via quo warranto proceedings would raise questions of legality and fairness.

The impeachment case has also taken its toll on the judiciary, which is supposedly an independent body of government.

If a third of the House agrees with the impeachment finding, Sereno would then be considered impeached and a trial would commence in the Senate.

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At least three mayors whose names were on the list were later gunned down in what police claimed were legitimate anti-drug operations.

The most senior judge in the Philippines has become the latest woman to face ruin after defying President Duterte.

Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened including detained Senator Leila de Lima, the Commission on Human Rights, and an anti-corruption prosecutor who had investigated allegations of Duterte's hidden wealth.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas Sr. of the First District of Ilocos Norte said "there will be no plenary voting [before our Lenten break on March 21], but we will approve it at committee level".

"They (House members) went through the motions but they are not saying that they will file it". Instead, Lagman alleged, Congress was waiting for the resolution of the case filed by the government's solicitor general to disqualify Sereno instead for allegedly failing to submit her real net worth.

Solicitor-General Jose Calida, an ally of Duterte, said he had asked Sereno's Supreme Court peers to cancel her 2012 appointment for violations of court rules and procedures.

Calida's petition was "grossly flawed" because it subverts the impeachment power that is grossly granted to Congress, Lagman said.

To prevent a constitutional crisis, lawmakers call on the chief justice to do the right thing.

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