Duterte hits Sereno anew

Aaron Lozada, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2016 08:40 PM

Says Chief Justice's advice to citizens to resist warrantless arrests will promote anarchy 

President Rodrigo Duterte and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

MANILA - After making a public apology to the country's top magistrate two weeks ago, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday hit Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno anew.

Speaking to military personnel at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City, Duterte, a lawyer and a former prosecutor, lectured Sereno on the validity of warrantless arrests.

"I'd like to respond to the Chief Justice. Inasmuch as possible, I want to be respectful as I can ever be. Madam Justice, you are again wrong when you said 'do not allow yourself to be arrested when there is no warrant'," Duterte said.

The President described Sereno's statement against warrantless arrests, in a press conference on Thursday, as "dangerous" and having the potential to "promote anarchy."

"Hearing your words, 'do not allow yourselves to be arrested without warrant' is a dangerous statement," Duterte said.

"You will promote anarchy. The things that you really fear. There is no anarchy under my watch," he said. 

The President went on to enumerate the legal bases for warrantless arrests.

"Arrest without a warrant, when? When a guy is committing a crime in your presence... [is] committing a crime in your presence, or had in fact committed [a crime]," Duterte said. 

"You can pursue them to the ends of the world as long as it's continuous. Or a crime is about to be committed," he added. 

"If it is a terrorist, hawak-hawak ang granada, ibig sabihin ba, tatakbo ka pa sa korte, kukuha ka pa ng warrant?"

(If a terrorist is holding a grenade, would you come to court first to ask for a warrant?)

Last August 11, Duterte slammed Sereno for "interfering" in his campaign against illegal drugs and threatened to declare martial law.

This tirade was in response to Sereno's letter to Duterte where she urged judges linked by the president to illegal drugs not to surrender to police, unless there is a duly-issued warrant. 

Sereno told the chief executive that the Supreme Court is the sole entity which can discipline erring judges. 

(READ: Sereno cautions 'narco-judges' vs surrender without warrant)

Duterte has since apologized, describing his own words as "harsh" and "were never intended."

(READ: Duterte apologizes to Sereno)