Chief Justice Sereno: 'No one will be safe' if I'm ousted
MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday, March 22, warned of serious repercussions should she be removed from her post.
In a speech at a forum at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Sereno said no one would be safe in the country if the efforts against her succeed.
"The stakes for the rule of law if the evil machinators of the impeachment or the resignation scheme succeed is that no one, not one man, especially not one woman, will be safe in this country," Sereno said at the Women vs Strongman forum.
"Everyone will have to look for a political patron to save [themselves] from incessant harassment, threats, and bullying," she added.
She warned that the 1987 Constitution would be "torn into shreds," including the Bill of Rights.
"And with it every right that the Bill of Rights seeks to protect: the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to privacy, the right against unlawful searches and seizures, and the right against deprivation of property without due process of law, yes, the right to life itself," Sereno said.
"It opens all kinds of interpretation which can only hasten the death of democracy in the country," she added.
The Chief Justice also called on women to "focus" on the real issue and look past what she claims are the "malevolent and orchestrated" efforts to remove her from office.
Sereno maintained that the impeachment complaint and other ouster moves against her are full of falsehoods which have caused noise and confusion among Filipinos.
"Fake news, alternative facts, vulgar language – descending to the depths by calling persons, genders, classes, advocacies, and institutions degrading names – can be considered as just tactical strategies to divert attention from the real prize: democratic institutions and constitutional rights and processes," she said.
Aside from an impeachment complaint, Sereno is also facing a quo warranto petition, which seeks to declare her appointment null and void, filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
The Makabayan bloc and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines have sought the dismissal of the petition against the Chief Justice.
Sereno refused to comment on the issue. But pressed by reporters if she is happy with the support, a smiling Chief Justice said: "Yes, yes, yes, yes... of course."
The House justice committee earlier approved the articles of impeachment against Sereno. The plenary, however, has yet to vote on the matter. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said they would wait for the resolution of the quo warranto petition. (READ: Quo warranto precedents: Sereno bats for outright dismissal) – Rappler.com