Sereno behind bars? Duterte says he only wants her out

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte did not ask his partymates to convict embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Duterte made this clarification Friday, April 13, when asked to comment on Sereno questioning Solicitor General Jose Calida for seemingly devoting government resources "to unseat me."

Why Duterte wants her out: The President had asked Congress to fast track Sereno's impeachment, as he claims the Chief Justice is "bad for the Philippines." Sereno earlier ordered judges identified in Duterte's "premature" list as allegedly involved in illegal drugs to submit to an arrest only if a warrant exists.

On Friday, Duterte once again scored Sereno and called the order "stupid."

"Talagang dapat paalisin ka, noon pa. Bobo ka na, putang ina, kung anong pinagsasabi mo," he said.

(That's why you really have to go, even back then. You're already stupid, son of a bitch, you keep on saying all sorts of things)

Duterte made these remarks early morning Friday upon arriving at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City after his trip to China for the Boao Forum.

Prior to his departure for China on April 9, the President ordered Congress to speed up Sereno's impeachment.

How Duterte's allies are working on Sereno's impeachment: A majority vote at the House of Representatives last March deemed an impeachment complaint against Sereno as having probable clause.

This came after 25 lawmakers endorsed a complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon, who accused Sereno of irregularities in her submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), among others.

It was a similar accusation which led to the impeachment of Sereno's predecessor, the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Sereno's camp had recently found a way to defend the Chief Justice, with 11 of her SALNs when she worked at the University of the Philippines now on file.

But for Duterte it isn't just about the missing SALNs. He also takes issue with Sereno's length of tenure, which stretches until 2030.

"That's too long for an ignorant Chief Justice. It's too long. That's enough. Give way. If I were you, I will resign," he said.

'Attack on the rule of law:' Earlier on Thursday, April 12, the Bangkok-based International Commission of Jurists called out Duterte for attacking Sereno.

In a statement, it urged the President to "respect official judicial independence and not to exert political pressure on any government official or agency to undermine the independence of the judiciary."

The country's highest court was placed under the spotlight since plans to impeach Sereno erupted, opening episodes of heated arguments between her and justices who also want her out of office. – Rappler.com