By Genalyn D. Kabiling
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno should consider resignation or else face impeachment before she brings “chaos” to the country, President Duterte declared yesterday.
Upon arrival in Davao City from Hong Kong, the President called anew for the removal of Sereno, saying she was “ignorante” and “bobo” about the country’s laws.
Duterte, a former prosecutor, criticized Sereno for foolishly advocating the need for arrest warrants in the government’s war on illegal drugs and other crimes, insisting that warrantless arrest is permitted in certain cases.
“Just because you are the Chief Justice, you are not smart…If you are that ignorant, you better go. You are just risking the country into a chaos. Umalis ka na,” he said.
Duterte also found Sereno’s term until 2030 “way too long for an ignorant Chief Justice.” “It’s too long. Tama na ‘yan, give way. If I were you, I will resign,” he added.
Sereno is on indefinite leave to prepare her defense before the impeachment proceedings in Congress. She has been accused of failure to declare her true wealth, among others, which she has denied.
Apart from the impeachment case, Sereno also faces a separate petition filed the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify her appointment.
In his remarks yesterday, the President acknowledged that Sereno should have been removed from the SC top post a long time ago for her ignorance of the law. He said if Sereno was smart, no one would oppose her and point out mistakes in her pronouncements.
Sereno previously told judges linked to the narcotics trade not to surrender to authorities without a valid arrest warrant.
“Alam mo kung bakit I castigated you in public? Ignorante ka eh. There was a time, we were in the thick of the campaign at sinabi mo sa mga public, ‘Do not submit yourself to an arrest unless there is a warrant for your arrest,'” Duterte said. “Sabi ko, “Hindi ko susundin ‘yan, Madame Justice kasi b*** ‘yang bat – batas mo,” he added.