On May 11, the Philippine Supreme Court voted to remove its top judge and also first female Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno. By a vote of 8-6, the court granted the government’s petition to cancel Sereno’s appointment on the grounds of alleged violations in the appointment process. The ruling would take immediate effect – the judicial and bar council need to promptly start a new selection process, while Sereno is given 10 days to leave the office. Reportedly, Sereno denied any wrongdoing, urging her supporters to defend “constitution, […] democracy and reason”. Duterte and his allies, on the other hand, also refused to budge and issued separate statements asking the public to respect the ruling. Given how Sereno has objected to several of the President’s proposals and hence became Duterte’s “enemy”, this seems to be such a convenient way for the President to remove opposition. Whether this is an underhanded stunt or not is arguable; but we are sure that Duterte knows how to benefit from his presidential power.
Written by Uyen Le-Khuc