[Statement] Duterte’s Quo Warranto Against Sereno: A Fascist Raid of the Judiciary -SANLAKAS

Duterte’s Quo Warranto Against Sereno:
A Fascist Raid of the Judiciary

The Duterte Government is leading a frontal attack against judicial independence unleashing its full might to unseat a duly-appointed Chief Justice in the guise of a quo warranto petition.

President Rodrigo Duterte in declaring CJ Maria Sereno as his enemy and giving marching orders to unseat her, declared himself at odds with the Constitution, another arrogant tyrannical display of power. The message is clear: not even the Constitution, to which the President swore an oath to protect as Chief Executive, is reason enough to stop a looming fascist rule if the President abetted by the entire machinery of the State wills it.

The Constitution is clear in providing for impeachment as the only mechanism to exact accountability for an erring Chief Justice. Duterte’s supermajority in Congress has already set in motion the impeachment proceedings for Sereno. But for a Government hell-bent in railroading charter change and federalism, the impeachment is anathema to the mad rush to secure a Duterte Supreme Court – a Court that would submit to the whims of a self-styled tyrant. Quo warranto against the Chief Justice if granted would circumvent the constitutional requirements outlined for impeachable officials.

A quo warranto petition revisits the authority enjoyed and wielded by the holder of an office over the allegation of usurpation or intrusion of the same. It must be filed within a year from when the cause of action arose and by the party claiming to be entitled to the office. These are absent in CJ Sereno’s case. The petition contravenes the Constitution and defiles every known legal principle enunciated no less by the Supreme Court.

More than legalese, the clear and present danger besieging the Supreme Court is no doubt a writing on the wall for our system of separation of powers and its corollary checks and balances, albeit flawed. If Duterte and his lapdogs succeed, the people would be left with institutions subservient not to their sovereign interests but to the dictatorship of a Marcos-wannabe.

We are,thus, left to defend our freedoms, our rights from the inescapable and undeniable consequence of powers concentrated on one man and his accessories in both Congress and the High Court.

Today, we make a stand:

Fight the fascist raid on the judiciary!
No to quo warranto against the Chief Justice!
Fight Duterte’s rush to fascism!

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