MANILA, Philippines – Amid moves to oust Lourdes Sereno and the Supreme Court’ decision to grant a request for the release of several court records and documents that will be used to impeach the chief justice, the Liberal Party (LP) on Thursday warned that the country could be on its way to dictatorship.
“The impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Sereno, it appears, isn’t simply directed at the Chief Justice. It can very well be directed at the entire high court,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan, LP president.
According to Pangilinan, it appeared that the high court’s decision to release its records to lawyer Larry Gadon, president of Pro-Duterte Constitutional Reformers to Federalism and volunteer counsel for pro-administration group Duterte Youth, so that he could substantiate his impeachment complaint, was also a message to justices that they must “submit or else.”
“Unless we act and defend our democracy and freedoms, we are well on our way to dictatorship,” the senator said.
Pangilinan urged Filipinos to “stand up in defense of democracy” and “join protest rallies” as the country remembers the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial rule on September 21.
Impeach raps vs Sereno backed by Duterte?
Earlier in the day, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that ouster moves against Sereno “appears to have the backing” of President Rodrigo Duterte as it had already 25 endorsers at the House of Representatives.
“Duterte and his super-majority in Congress are flexing their muscle. The targets are the remaining checks and balance against executive power,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. in a statement, noting that “there is also an impeachment drive aimed at” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
“If this succeeds, we may have a dictatorship-in-the-making. Who else will check executive power when Congress and the Judiciary are fully compliant? Wouldn’t this make the concentration of power under the Executive easier to achieve. Indeed, it will be a turn for the worse,” Reyes added.