Women's groups rally behind Sereno

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2018 09:46 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2018 06:06 AM

MANILA - Embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno found support in multi-sectoral groups who denounced President Rodrigo Duterte's "attacks" against women.

Speaking at a press conference at St. Scholastica Institute of Women's Studies in Manila on Thursday morning, Mother Superior Mary John Mananzan, convenor of the Movement Against Tyranny, slammed as "very anomalous" the impeachment complaint filed against the top magistrate.

"You only file a case of impeachment kung may glaring na ginawa yung tao. Ito, walang glaring na ginawa. Kinasuhan na lang at naghahanap sila ng kung anong ikakaso sa kanya. That is so opposite against the procedure ng pag-i-impeach," she said.

Mananzan said efforts to impeach the Chief Justice is part of the Duterte government's goal of eliminating opposition voices.

"Lahat ng move ng gobyerno ay tungo lang po sa isang bagay -- magkaroon ng administrasyon na walang oposisyon...Klarong-klaro that what they want is to take away opposition," she said.

Aside from Sereno, Mananzan cited the case of Sen. Leila de Lima, who she said was detained based on "false evidence." 

She also mentioned Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who refused to carry out an order from the Office of the President suspending Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang, and opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros.

"Talagang threatened sila sa matatapang na babae," Mananzan said.

More than an attack on women, Gabriela Secretary-General Joms Salvador believes the move to impeach Sereno is an affront to the independence of the judiciary.

"Ang atake kay Chief Justice, isang attack hindi lang dahil sya ay babae, although mahilig si Duterte magsingle-out at mambully ng kababaihan, pero atake ito sa institution na kinakatawan niya, yung Supreme Court at yung independence dapat ng democratic institutions sa ating lipunan," she said.

"May objective and systematic ang ginagawang panggigipit kay Sereno para ma-silence ang anumang magpopose ng opposite na pagtingin sa mga pinapanukala...nais ni Pangulong Duterte," she added.

During the press con, representatives from various groups also denounced the government for its failure to address contractualization or 'endo', low wages, housing, and other issues. 

They also blamed the Duterte administration for the rising prices of goods due to the implementation of the tax reform law, the deaths in the drug war, and for continuing the Dengvaxia vaccination program.

But for Mananzan, the biggest problem the current administration has caused is the erosion of moral values.

"I've never ever experienced the most obnoxious machismo, sexismo atsaka sexism kundi sa gobyernong ito," she said.

"Worse pa sa martial law, ang pagyuyurak ng kaluluwa bilang Pilipino. The erosion of moral fiber -- walang respeto sa tao...walang respeto sa buhay...walang respeto sa katotohanan...
In one-and-a-half years, bigla tayong nag-descend sa isang barbarism na we never knew before. Ang new normal: karahasan, kabastusan, kasinungalingan, at kabuktutan," she added.

The groups encouraged the public to join the "Solidarity March against the Macho Fascist Dictatorship" on March 8, International Women's Day.