CJ Sereno refuses to engage in word war with Duterte

  • Chief Justice Sereno has refused to answer Duterte’s tirades against the judiciary
  • In a brief statement, Sereno said she would no longer add anything to the issue
  • The magistrate has, in effect, avoided a potential word war between the two highest officials in the land

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has chosen to end the potential word war with President Rodrigo Duterte by refusing to answer the latter’s tirades against the letter she sent regarding alleged ‘narco-judges’.

In a statement read to the press by SC Spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te, Sereno said there is no need to add to what has been said about the issue.

“Many things have been said. The Chief Justice sees no need to add to what are being said,” the magistrates’ statement said.

On Monday, Sereno sent Duterte a letter expressing her concern over the “premature” public revelation of the ‘drug list’ as this could potentially expose the judges as ‘vulnerable targets’ in the recent spate of extra-judicial killings.

She also urged the judiciary members not to surrender to police in the absence of a search warrant as this supposedly jeopardizes their role as the protector of constitutional rights.

In his response, Duterte warned Sereno he might end up declaring Martial Law if the judiciary branch decided to stop him and intervene in the government’s campaign against the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

“Do not create a crisis because I will order everyone in the Executive Department not to honor you,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, Te said he could not confirm whether Sereno had watched Duterte assailing her in the video on Tuesday night.

The SC official also refused to comment how the Chief Justice reacted to the President’s hard-hitting remarks, or if the matter will be brought up in the SC en banc session.

“This is her only statement. I would not add to it,” Te said.