Duterte calls Sereno ‘ignorant, dumb’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, April 13, lashed out anew against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, calling her “ignorant” and “dumb.”

As he continued his series of word attacks against the top magistrate, Duterte said Sereno — who is currently facing a possible impeachment trial — should have quit her position a long time ago.

“Do not make it a problem for you. Alam mo kung bakit (Do you know why) I castigated you in public? Ignorante ka e (Because you are ignorant),” Duterte said in a press briefing upon his arrival in Davao City, apparently addressing Sereno.

The president recalled a time when, “in the thick of a campaign,” Sereno cautioned against submitting to an arrest without a warrant.

He was reportedly referring to Sereno’s letter in August 2016, when she cautioned judges who were linked to drugs “very strongly against ‘surrendering’ or making themselves physically accountable to any police officer in the absence of any duly-issued warrant of arrest that is pending.”

Duterte said Sereno’s comment “angered” him, adding that as a chief justice, she should know about warrantless arrests.

Noting that Sereno’s term is until 2030, he further remarked that the period is “too long for an ignorant Chief Justice.”

“Dapat paalisin ka noon pa (You should have been removed a long time ago). Bobo ka (You’re dumb),” the president added.

Earlier this week, Duterte vowed to do everything in his power to remove the top magistrate from her office, calling her his “enemy.”

This was after Sereno challenged the president to explain why Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a “quo warranto” petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to invalidate her appointment.

Irked by Sereno’s remarks, Duterte insisted that he has no hand in the impeachment case against her. He also asked House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to hasten the impeachment process against the chief justice. 

“I would ask Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast-track the impeachment. She is bad for the Philippines,” he said on Monday, April 9. “Now this time, I’m asking the congressmen and the Speaker, ‘Do it now. ‘Wag ninyong dramahin (Don’t add drama to it). Or else, I will do it for you.”

Explaining his earlier remarks, Duterte, on Friday, said: “I am not directing Congress. I am not a member of Congress. I am directing my party mates.”

Duterte is the chair of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), while Alvarez is the party’s secretary general. 

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