Malacañang calls on Chief Justice Sereno to resign

Pia Ranada
Malacañang calls on Chief Justice Sereno to resign
(UPDATED) The Palace says her stepping down would spare the Supreme Court from further damage

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday, November 6, called on Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to step down and spare the High Court from further damage. 

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque urged her to resign to spare the SC damage in the event of an impeachment. “I call upon Chief Justice Sereno to really consider resigning only to spare the institution from any further damage,” said Roque during a Malacañang press briefing.

Roque said that the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno, supported by President Rodrigo Duterte, does not, by itself undermine the judiciary since it is a process allowed by the Constituition.

But it is the possible guilty verdict and impeachment of Sereno that would be damaging, especially after the removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona* during the previous administration.

“I do not think the judiciary can survive another decision that would remove an incumbent chief justice,” said Roque.

The spokesman said Duterte shares his views. He denied that his remarks should be taken as interference by the executive branch into affairs of the judiciary since he was merely “commenting” on the impeachent process.

“The best way to protect the institution is to forego the trial altogether,” said Roque.

Last October 1, Duterte challenged both Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resign with him due to allegations of corruption they all face.

Days after, the House justice committee declared that the impeachment complaint against Sereno by lawyer Larry Gadon has “sufficient grounds.” (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)

Another complaint was filed by Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Eligio Mallari of the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution. (READ: LOOK: Why petitioners want Sereno impeached) – Rappler.com

*Editor’s note: In a previous version of this story, we named Senior Justice Antonio Carpio when it should have been former chief justice Renato Corona. The correction has been made.

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.