MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday denied being involved in the impeachment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“Alam mo, sinabi sa akin merong narinig na si Sereno, ‘Duterte is out to . . . ’ Ha, ako raw? She can ask anybody, I guarantee you. I’ll make a guarantee, magtanong siya diyan kung may nilapitan ako na sinasabi ko, ‘Impeach niyo si Sereno,’ ” Duterte told reporters in a chance interview.
“Ma’am Sereno, I’m sorry to tell you and you can investigate the whole town and i-commission mo lahat ng mga journalists who are good at investigative journalism kung may kinausap ako na tao about your impeachment.”
The president previously challenged Sereno, along with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, to resign with him amid an investigation into his wealth that allegedly amounted to billions of pesos.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, said the impeachment complaint against the chief justice does not threaten the country’s democracy.
“I do not see how a constitutional process ratified by the Filipinos when they ratified the ‘87 Constitution, constitute a threat to democracy. She’s mistaken there,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“Having said that, we let the process continue, the legislature is a separate branch of government. They have exclusive and original jurisdiction to determine probable cause on impeachment complaints.”
This, after Sereno on Monday said: “This is getting to be larger than myself. This is no longer just about me, it is about democracy.”
Sereno is facing an impeachment complaint stemming from several accusations, including her alleged non-disclosure of fees she received from a case involving the controversial Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in her 2010 SALN. --With reports from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News