Philippines chief justice, Duterte's critic, expelled by Supreme Court colleagues

Sarah Elago

Duterte is not satisfied that the Supreme Court has consistently voted in his favor and demands the Chief Justice to be fully compliant.

"It is not my personal interest or actual bias but the common interest of every incumbent Member of the Court to find the truth in whether or not respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno has the integrity to qualify her to hold the highest position in the Judiciary", De Castro said.

More than how she voted for or against President Duterte, more than her "proclivity to lie, mislead", more than her "lack of candor and forthrightness" in explaining why she failed to submit her net worth and liabilities statement as a professor of the University of the Philippines, and more than her crafting of a "political narrative which elided her own accountability", Sereno suffered her Black Friday fate for stark reasons that are now buried in legalese.

In the end, the High Court must not pretend that in granting the quo warranto petition, they are not complicit in the current dispensation's plucking of Philippine democracy, feather by feather until it is sacrificed in the cauldron of totalitarianism. The opposition said the ouster of the nation's first woman chief justice left behind a "puppet Supreme Court".

"The decision is immediately executory without further need of action from the court", Te said, adding the vote was eight-six against Sereno.

In a radio interview, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said it was "out of character" for Duterte to meddle in issues hounding the Supreme Court. Panfilo Lacson, "are the moronic lawyers who were ready to spread their idiocy in an impeachment trial, which will no longer take place because it's unlikely that the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate."Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate had no choice but to respect the Supreme Court decision".

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The Congress, controlled by Duterte's allies, was due to vote on an impeachment complaint against Sereno next week.

Opposition politicians denounced Sereno's removal. Crowds of supporters and opponents of Sereno had gathered outside the building before the ruling.

Following the move, Sereno released a statement urging Filipinos to "defend the constitution and fight wrongdoing", cited by The Guardian.

Although she did not mention President Rodrigo Duterte by name, she alluded to many issues under his leadership, including extrajudicial killings, which have been raised by rights activists and critics.

Senator Risa Hontiveros called it "a direct stab to the heart of our constitution", while her Akbayan party said the country was "a heartbeat away" from the death of its democracy.

The House Justice Committee said in March there was probable cause to impeach Sereno, accusing her of corruption, breach of public trust and other serious crimes.

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