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

16 May 2018, 07:51 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Philippine Supreme Court Ousts Chief Justice Duterte Called an ‘Enemy

Philippine Supreme Court Ousts Chief Justice Duterte Called an ‘Enemy

Sereno had called on six of her colleagues, who testified against her in the House impeachment hearings, to abstain from Friday's vote, citing their bias.

"I am a victim today, but I am just one of so many thousands upon thousands whose lives have been snuffed out, who continue to remain in detention, who have been unfairly accused or unfairly victimized by the very powerful forces in our society that must be exposed for what they are", Sereno said. "Again, the people have lost without a fight", he said.Sen. If we no longer trust the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, we are the only ones left.

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. Aquino, on the other hand, plucked from the deepest bench of the Court to make history, naming not only the first woman head of the High Court but one who would spend 18 years - barring death or impeachment - as its 24th chief.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a key ally of Duterte, agreed with Sereno and urged the Supreme Court to review its decision, saying it's "not infallible in everything".

Constitutional law expert Pacifico Agabin told AFP Sereno could file a motion for reconsideration but warned the move would be "an exercise in futility".

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"After having a lapdog Congress and a seriously wounded Senate, we now have a puppet Supreme Court". He also says Sereno should appeal. Broad democratic sectors are deeply indignant over the Supreme Court's act of self-decapitation, goaded by Duterte's threats and intimidation.

The approval of the Hon'ble Chief Justice is also not a substitute for an order of the Supreme Court.

After being excluded from a three-member bench hearing a human rights case, Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa has termed the dissolution and the reconstitution of the bench by the chief justice "unwarranted and unprecedented".

Sereno is the first chief justice to be removed by her peers and the second top judge to lose the position after her predecessor was impeached for non-disclosure of wealth. Sereno denies the allegation and did not participate in the vote.

About 1,800 protesters gathered to support Sereno outside the court in Manila, where anti-riot police blocked an access road with trucks and iron railings to maintain order and separate a smaller group of anti-Sereno demonstrators.

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