A question of trust: Duterte's dare to CJ, Ombudsman 'bad for PH'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2017 07:31 PM

' Why will they trust someone who does not respect his own Constitution...,' says international law expert Ruben Carranza

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's challenge for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resign with him will send a negative message to the international community, an analyst said Monday.

The dare, which came as Carpio-Morales' office prepares to probe the chief executive's wealth, has implications with respect to the views different governments, the human rights processes in the United Nations, and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said International Center for Transitional Justice's Reparative Justice Program Director Ruben Carranza, a former Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner. 

"Once you cross the line and President Duterte has crossed the line many, many times already, then you do also invite countries to essentially see you as someone who perhaps they will not deal with, because why will they trust someone who does not respect his own Constitution, who does not respect the constitutional boundaries that protect other institutions in that constitutional set-up?" he told ANC's Headstart.

"You do send the message to other countries, to other governments, to other political leaders that perhaps you cannot be trusted, that perhaps you cannot be dealt with in good faith and perhaps you do not have a role in terms of shaping an international community that respects human rights," he said.

Duterte on Sunday alleged that Sereno and Carpio-Morales had allowed themselves to be "used" in the corruption allegations against him.

He accused Sereno of failing to declare a P30-million professional fee in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (SALN), and Carpio-Morales of administering "selective justice" in prioritizing the corruption investigation against him. 

"Huwag na tayong magbolohan, iyung pa-ek-ek ninyo sa publiko. I said I am ready to lose the presidency, my honor, my life... I now challenge Carpio to resign with me at itong si Supreme Court [chief] justice," the President said in a speech before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City chapter.

(Let us not fool ourselves and the public. I've said that I am ready to lose the presidency, my honor my life. I now challenge Carpio to resign with me, as well as the Supreme Court justice.)

'VP LENI WILL BE HAPPY' 

But a lawmaker allied with Duterte doubts the president's supporters will allow him to resign. 

"Ang tanong, papayagan ba na magkaroon ng resignation ang Pangulo? Paano naman mga supporters ng Pangulo na umaasa sa kaniya? Isa yan sa consideration. Kung sina Ombudsman Carpio Morales and Chief Justice Sereno wala naman constituency, anytime they can resign," said AKO Bicol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe.

Batocabe said Vice President Leni Robredo, a fellow Bicolano, could be handed a double-edged sword should these officials resign at the same time.

"Masaya dito kung tanggapin ng 2 sabay-sabay sila mag-resign, ang magiging pinaka-masayang tao si VP Leni Robredo; problemado siya or masaya yan magiging scenario diyan," he said.

"Kung mag-resign ang Pangulo, ang Vice President ang susunod. Pag ang VP naging pangulo, siya na po ang mag-a-appoint ng SC chief justice at ng Ombudsman," he explained.

Another Duterte ally, ABS Party List Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera, also pointed out that resignation is "personal" and cannot be enforced upon the officials, but both Sereno and Carpio Morales are impeachable officers.

"Sa kalagayan ni CJ at Ombudsman, parehong impeachable officers. Meron tayong proseso kung paano sila aalisin sa pwesto kung may kasalanan sila. Kung di naman matutuloy ang proseso at ayaw nila umalis, di sila mapapaalis. They could agree with the President, sama-sama silang mawawala," he said.

Impeachment complaints have been lodged against Carpio-Morales and Sereno at the House of Representatives. The case against the Ombudsman was yet to be endorsed by a lawmaker, while the one against the chief magistrate was found to be sufficient in form and substance. - with RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News