MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday denied any involvement in the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“You can ask anybody, I never initiated si Sereno,” Duterte said in a speech at the oath-taking ceremony of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
“I just called her attention because of the so many cases pending tapos pa-iba ang decision niya. ‘Yung the very complaint now of the justices, ‘yun lang ‘yun. O kita mo, ‘di lumabas rin,” he added.
Sereno is facing an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives on allegations that she misdeclared her wealth and violated court procedures.
She is currently on leave to prepare for a possible impeachment trial at the Senate, but reports claim that Supreme Court justices forced her to go on indefinite leave.
The President said he is leaving to the House Justice Committee the decision on whether there is probable cause to file the impeachment complaint against Sereno before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
“Congress, well, you be the judge. Hindi ako pwede. Executive department ako. Co-equal kami so hindi ako pwedeng mag-ano. Executive department lang ako,” Duterte said.
The Office of the Solicitor General on Monday filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court, questioning the validity of Sereno’s appointment.
The Palace called the move “unprecedented.”