Philippines Report

I turned down ‘offers’ to mend ties with Duterte – Sereno

Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday said she rejected earlier “offers” to have a dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte to mend ties and ask for the withdrawal of the impeachment complaint and quo warranto petition filed against her.

“May mga offer. May mga ideya na ganyan na ang solusyon sa problema ay pakikipag-usap o pagbabati,” Sereno told reporters without divulging who volunteered to set up a meeting between her and the president.

(There were offers. There were ideas floated that mending ties with Duterte would be the solution to my problems.)

Sereno said she turned down the offers and idea as she felt that it would compromise the judiciary's independence.

“Hindi ako nakipagkompromiso. Nanindigan ako. Kung ako ay nag-compromise dun, hihina ako (as chief justice),” she said.

(I did not compromise. I stood firm. If I compromised, I would become a weak chief justice.)

“Hindi puwede na ang politicians ang magsasabi o magdidikta sa bayan, kailangan Constitution,” she said.

Sereno was ousted as top magistrate after 8 of her colleagues voted in favor of the Solicitor General's petition to nullify her appointment in 2012 for not submitting all her Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALNs) when was applied for the post.

An impeachment case against Sereno is still pending at the House of Representatives where Duterte enjoys a “super majority,” but the SC ruling makes it moot.

Sereno, the youngest and the first female chief justice of the Philippines, said she had no regrets that she brushed off the offer to “play politics” with the executive department.

“An outsider, reformer, and someone who is not willing to play politics should be anticipating this outcome,” she said.

Earlier this year, Duterte said he considered Sereno his “enemy” after she urged him to explain why the government's lawyer was seeking the invalidation of her appointment. (ABS CBN)

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