MANILA, Philippines — Amid the clamor for the Duterte administration to declare a revolutionary government and moves to oust her from office, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday vowed she would not give in to pressures from those who want to tilt the balance of power by weakening the judiciary.
After the Mass at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City organized for Sereno by her supporters, the country’s top magistrate assured the crowd that she would not be cowed into giving up her post because her fight is also the people’s fight.
“Kayo na rin ang nagsabi na ang laban mo ay laban namin. Kaya paano ako bibitiw? Paano ako manghihinang loob? Paano ako lilisan at tatalikuran ang pananagutan sa bayan?” said the chief magistrate, a day after the continuation of the House Committee on Justice’s hearing on the impeachment complaint filed against her by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Sereno stressed that she was appointed to her post not because of any favors but to ensure that there would be justice and reforms. She also urged Filipinos to guard the judiciary’s independence amid calls by Duterte’s supporters to establish a revolutionary government, inciting fears of dictatorial rule.
“Ako po ay niluklok upang pangalagaan ang hustisya. Bantayan ang independence ng hudikatura. Pangalagaan ang mga kawani hudikatura. Ilatag ang reporma sa hudikatura,” she said.
“Ako po ay nahirang upang maging pinuno, hindi lamang sa hudikatura mismo ngunit dahil sa ehemplo ng hudikatura, ay mabilis at tamang pag-inog ng hustisya,” the chief justice added.
Sereno described the allegations being hurled against her as nothing but a bunch of lies being spread by those who don’t believe in due process and want to stop the reforms being pushed at the judiciary under her watch.
“Dahil sa pinagkumpol kumpol na kasinungalingan, gustong pigilan ang mga repormang nangyayari. Kung naniniwala kayo na ang due process ay importante, makiisa kayo sa hudikatura,” she said.
Despite the challenges she’s facing now, Sereno said her resolve remains strong because it is for the Filipinos and the Constitution.
“Ang paninindigan ko dito sa pinagdadaanan ko ngayon ay para sa taumbayan at Konstitusyon,” she said.
“As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, God’s plan will prevail,” added Sereno.