- President apologized to Supreme Court Chief Justice for sharp rebuke
- He said he never intended for his words to be harsh
- He also explained himself, said it was just his way of highlighting the country’s drug problem
MANILA, Philippines – Peace na please.
In a defusing moment that could finally ease tensions between the two coequal branches of government, President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno after he sharply rebuked the magistrate over her comment on his narco-list.
In his apology, Duterte said he did not intend for his words to be harsh against Sereno and explained he was merely highlighting the gravity of the country’s drug problem.
“I get tangled with the Chief Justice. I would apologize to the Chief Justice for the harsh words. It was never intended. Ba’t ako kasi because of the magnitude of the problem,” GMA News quoted him as saying.
“It was my way of solving the problem within the ambit of my powers as president. Kayo ang humihingi eh [You were asking for it], even the media,” he said; referring to the list which contained the names of government officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
Seven of the alleged drug protectors were judges; prompting Sereno to ask Duterte for clarification and remind him that only the SC can order its judges to report to it.
The judges named have since been placed under administrative investigation after the SC decided to treat the president’s expose as a complaint.
In response, Duterte lambasted Sereno and threatened to declare martial law if the high tribunal meddled with his anti-drug campaign. He later scaled down his tirade; saying he was just telling Sereno about the existence of scalawags in the judiciary as part of his duty to the public.