SERENO IMPEACHMENT | Duterte moving to remove checks and balances – Bayan

August 31, 2017 - 7:43 AM
President Rodrigo Duterte and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in file combo image. He dared her and the Ombudsman to resign with him, but she's not biting. INTERAKSYON FILE

MANILA, Philippines — The endorsement by 25 lawmakers of the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno indicates “the backing of the President,” with the ultimate goal the removal of “the remaining checks and balance(s) against executive power,” a leftist group said Thursday.

President Rodrigo “Duterte and his super-majority in Congress are flexing their muscle,” said Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said as he noted “a similar impeachment drive aimed at the Ombudsman,” Conchita Carpio Morales.

Lately, Duterte has bashed Morales, accusing her of “selective justice.”

Speaking before new government appointees on Tuesday, Duterte claimed “the Office of the Ombudsman has mastered the art of selective justice — hard on some, soft on others” and accused it of being “slow to act on complaints against the friendly but quick to decide against perceived hostiles.”

WATCH | With 25 House members as endorsers, Sereno impeachment complaint deemed filed

The complaint against Sereno, filed also on Tuesday by lawyer Larry Gadon, has been endorsed by Representatives Gwen Garcia, Edgar Sarmiento, Anthony Bravo, Arnel Ty, Rodolfo Albano, Francisco Matugas, Aurelio Gonzales, Joel Almario, Romeo Acop, Federico Sandoval, Vincent Crisologo, Mylene Garcia-Albano, Pedro Acharon, Xavier Romualdo, Winnie Castelo, Ferdinand Hernandez, Jerico Nograles, Ace Barbers, Frederick Abueg, John Nieto, Roger Mercado, Lorna Bandigan, Ann Hofer, Gil Acosta and Jennifer Barzaga.

Bayan’s Reyes, while acknowledging “many differences with” the Supreme Court and Office of the Ombudsman, stressed that “the greater concern here is that the elimination of checks and balance(s) further empowers the Executive and paves the way for more abuses.”

“If this succeeds, we may have a dictatorship-in-the-making,” he added.

“Who else among the institutions will check executive power when Congress and the Judiciary are fully compliant? Wouldn’t this make nationwide Martial Law all that easier to impose? Wouldn’t this make the concentration of power under the Executive easier to achieve?” Reyes asked.

“This is another face of fascism and tyranny which we should guard against and resist,” he said.