Cebu militant groups rally behind CJ Sereno

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol |April 10,2018 - 03:43 PM

Members of different militant groups in Cebu staged a protest rally on Wednesday to express their support for embattled Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

They also lashed out at President Rodrigo Duterte for throwing his weight behind efforts to oust the country’s chief justice in an attempt to subsequently take control of the judiciary.

Carrying posters that calls for judicial independence, the protesters walked from Cebu City Hall to Colon Street past 2 p.m.—about the same time Sereno appeared before the High Court for the oral arguments of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against the chief justice.

“Attempts to oust CJ Sereno just shows how the Duterte administration wants to control the judiciary. If he can do this to the chief justice, how much more to ordinary citizens and critics who oppose like us?,” said Noe Santillan of the Movement Against Tyranny-Cebu.

He said the judiciary plays a vital role especially at a time when killings and human rights abuses abound under the Duterte administration.

“We have a message right here that those who will not support the programs and policies of this administration will easily be ousted from their posts notwithstanding the rule of law. Rallying behind CJ Sereno is a fight for judicial independence and against Duterte’s tyranny,” Santillan said.

Protesters carried with them posters and placards that read: “We Stand with CJ!,” “Defend Judicial Independence!,” “Fight Against Tyranny.”

In a forum last week in Cebu City, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide III also expressed his support to Sereno. He said calls to oust Sereno, without any evidence or even giving the chief justice the benefit of a trial, is alarming.

Dr. Phoebe Ruiz of Karapatan-Central Visayas said one branch of government should be independent from the other.

“What will happen if politics will destroy the judiciary? What we have now is the making of another dictator. But we will not allow this to happen,” she said.

John Ruiz of Bayan Muna Central Visayas said has been doing her job well and there is no reason to oust her.

“She has been independent so far. Let us support her, not because of personal reasons, but for the independence of the judiciary,” he said.

“President Duterte has issued questionable policies, and the Supreme Court is supposed to be our refuge,” he added.

Sereno is being accused, among others, of not filing her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth before her appointment as chief justice in 2012.

Last month, the House of Representatives decided to elevate the impeachment complaint against Sereno to the Senate which will act as a court and put her on trial.

A quo warrant petition was also filed by Calida before the High Court to supposedly oust her.

Quo warranto is a Latin term meaning “by what authority.”

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