MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte apologized late Thursday night for the “harsh word” he uttered to Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno amid the magnitude of drug problem that he has to address as he promised in the election campaign.
”I apologized to the Chief Justice for the harsh words. It’s never intended. Ako kasi, because of the magnitude of the problem, it was my way of solving the problem within the ambit of my powers as president,” Duterte said in a press conference after meeting with first Filipina Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in Panacan, Davao City.
In his speech before government troops in Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday, Pres. Duterte criticized Sereno for interfering in his intensified anti-illegal drug campaign.
The President even asked Sereno if she wants him to declare martial law to stop the problem of illegal drug in the country.
”Do not create a crisis because I will order everyone in the Executive Department not to honor you,” Duterte said.
Pres. Duterte made the statement after Sereno cautioned the judges included in the drug list of the President against “surrendering” or making themselves physically accountable to any police officer without arrest warrant.
Last Wednesday, Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te said there is no need for the lady Chief Justice to engage in a word war with the President.
The President renewed his commitment to protect the Filipino from the danger brought by the illegal drugs.
”There is slaughter going on because of drugs. My job is to inform the people of their surrounding so that they may avoid harm and danger,” Duterte said.
If he will be able to solve the illegal drugs in the shortest time, Duterte said he is even willing to leave the presidency.
”Kapag nalinis ko ito and if there is a shortening of my term, I’m ready to go. Sa totoo lang [If I get to clean this up and if there is a shortening of my term, I’m ready to go. Really.],” Duterte, who is pushing shift to federal form of government, said.