MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday took another swipe at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, calling the top magistrate "ignorante", "bobo", and "torpe."
"Alam mo kung bakit I castigated you in public, ignorante ka eh," he said in his speech following his arrival in Davao City following a four-day visit to China and Hong Kong.
Duterte was asked about his alleged involvement in removing Sereno from the high court.
Their ties were strained, the president said, when Sereno cautioned the public against warrantless arrests at the height of the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.
"Sabi ko, hindi ko susundin 'yan Madame Justice kasi bobo 'yang batas mo," he said.
"Eh 'pag ganoon, lalaban lahat 'yan. Kung walang warrant, if there's a crime committed in the presence of military and police, bakit? Magproproduce ba siya ng warrant galing sa 'yo?"
"Sabi ko, torpe ka. That's why you should not be there. For a Chief Justice, hindi mo alam 'yan."
Duterte then went on a diatribe against Sereno in defense of warrantless arrests.
"Kaya nagalit ako sa 'yo because even an ordinary flunker ng law, alam 'yan. There are instances the military and the police and persons authority and civilians, for that matter, can make arrest, citizens arrest," he said.
"If the crime is about to be committed in my presence, or the crime is being committed or the crime has in fact been committed at tumakbo ka at hinabol kita."
'IGNORANT' CHIEF JUSTICE
Duterte said Sereno should have long been gone as chief justice.
"Talagang dapat alisin ka. Noon pa. Bobo ka na. P***** ***," he said.
Duterte also clarified his remarks about fast-tracking the impeachment process against Sereno.
"I was just appealing to the House of Representatives who will handle the impeachment. Conviction is something else," he said.
"Who am I to direct the Senate. We are talking of impeachment. We're not talking of conviction."
Duterte also urged Sereno to step down.
"Just because you're chief justice, you're not smart. Kasi kung smart ka, matatag ka diyan, walang lalaban sa 'yo at hindi ka nagkakamali sa mga declarations mo," he said.
"And that term of yours, until what? 2030? That's too long for an ignorant chief justice. It's too long. Tama na iyan. Give way. If I were you, I will resign."