MANILA—Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno accepted on Friday the apology made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during a press conference after meeting with first Filipina Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in Panacan, Davao City Thursday night.
”The Chief Justice appreciates the President’s latest remarks. As previously announced, she will no longer say anything on this matter,” Sereno said in a statement on Friday read for her by SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te.
This was the reaction of the SC on the apology of President Duterte saying that the harsh words he has uttered against the Chief Justice were only brought about by the big problems of the country that he is currently dealing with.
In his speech on Tuesday, President Duterte said that the Chief Justice should not create a constitutional crisis which may prompt the President to order everybody in the Executive Department not to honor the orders of the Chief Justice to the Executive Department.
President Duterte also warned the Chief Justice not to impede on the government’s all-out war against illegal drugs, otherwise, he would rather declare Martial Law.
Sereno on Monday advised the judges who were named by President Duterte as purportedly involved in illegal drugs not to surrender.
In her four-page letter to President Duterte sent through Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, the Chief Magistrate advised the judges who were included in the list not to surrender to any police officer without a warrant of arrest.
Sereno said that this was to protect the judges as the protectors of the rights of the citizens under the Constitution.
Sereno also asked President Duterte to allow those judges who were named to continue to carry their licensed firearms for as long as charges are not yet filed against them.
This as Sereno expressed her apprehension that the said judges will also be the “target” of incidents of extra-judicial killings and that they may also become “collateral damage” in the war against illegal drugs.
The SC had previously asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to allow the judges to carry firearm since the SC has no sufficient personnel to provide protection to the judges.
Sereno added that although the judiciary appreciates the intention of the President to help in the clean-up of the ranks of the judiciary, the informal report from the President or the members of his Cabinet would be sufficient enough for the SC to take action and conduct an investigation without the need of ordering the judges to report to any office and thereby not impede in their scheduled court activities.