MANILA. Aug. 3 — Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte respects the separation of powers of the three branches of government and would not meddle in the impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.
At a Palace briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag assured that Duterte would respect the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of the Philippines, or any other co-equal branch of government for that matter.
“The President was always clear about saying that if and when the House of Representatives or any other co-equal branch would do so, then that is up to them,” she said.
Banaag, who is also a lawyer, said that with regards to the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno, the Palace would respect any action that is within the bounds of the law.
“We respect, if and when a civilian or any person for that matter would file a complaint against any impeachable officer. That is up to them because that is within the bounds of the law,” she said.
The Palace official likewise belied insinuations that the impeachment complaint filed against the Chief Magistrate has the blessings of Duterte since it was filed by a group allegedly allied with the President.
“Hindi kontrolado ng Presidente kung may mga kaalyado man siya na may gustong mag-file ng complaint against any impeachable officer. Nasa sa kanila po ‘yun . And it’s not necessarily galing sa ating Pangulo,” Banaag said.
As for the complaint itself, she pointed out that it is the prerogative of Congress’ how to handle the matter.
“That is up for the House of Representatives to handle or tackle. It is really up to them to consider and reconsider,” Banaag said.
On Wednesday, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) president Eligio Mallari submitted the first complaint against Sereno to the House secretary general.
However, without an endorsement from a member of the House, the complaint was not considered to have been officially filed.