- President replied to Chief Justice Sereno’s letter regarding inclusion of judges in drug list
- He told Sereno he will declare martial law if SC meddles in his anti-drug campaign
- He also warned the Chief Justice not to create a constitutional crisis
MANILA, Philippines – Amid a looming clash between the two equal branches of government over his drug list containing the names of seven judges, President Rodrigo Duterte warned Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno he would declare martial law if the high tribunal interferes with his anti-drug campaign.
“Ikaw ang kingpin sa judiciary. Ako, presidente. Ako may trabaho, ikaw wala. Walang mga judges na nagpa-patrol ng daan. Walang mga sheriff ninyo na naghuhuli,” GMA News quoted him as saying. “Yan ang mabigat na problema ko. Hindi ako gago. If this continues, pigilan mo ako, o ‘di sige. Or would you rather that I declare martial law?”
[You are the kingpin in the judiciary. Me, I am the president. I have the work (of ridding drugs), while you don’t. There are no judges who patrol the streets. Your sheriffs do not catch (drug pushers). That’s my big problem. I am not a fool. If this continues, and you stop me, then go ahead. Or would you rather that I declare martial law.]
Duterte also told Sereno not to create constitutional crisis or he will order the executive branch not to honor the judiciary.
“I’m warning you, do not create a crisis because I will order everyone in the Executive Department not to honor you,” he said.
At the same time, the president defended his release of the list; saying he had to do it as part of his duty to the public.
“It was not an accusatorial utterance. It is in consonance to my duty as President of Philippines,” he said.
Duterte’s remarks came as Sereno reminded him of the separation of powers and advised the judges in his list not to surrender themselves without a warrant. She also told the president to file a case against those named as part of procedure.