MANILA - Women’s groups on Thursday lamented the supposed forced leave of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno amid attacks against women who criticize the Duterte administration.
Groups such as Coalition Against Trafficking Women - Asia Pacific (CATWAP), Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), and Sarilaya joined the commemoration of National Women’s Month led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
“It's really heartbreaking to hear the predominantly male [Supreme Court] en banc sort of pushed the Supreme Court Chief Justice to take a leave of absence,” according to Jean Enriquez of CATWAP.
Enriquez noted that the accusations against Sereno should be settled in an impeachment trial.
“Maaring hindi perpekto ang Supreme Court Chief Justice pero sa ganang amin sa CATWAP ay mayroon proseso na dapat dinaanan na demoktratiko. Kaya para sa Supreme Court justices na mag-exert ng ganong pressure sa kanya, ito ay labas sa isang demokratikong pamamaraan,” Enriquez added.
(The Chief Justice might not be perfect, but for us in CATWAP, there should be a democratic process. This exertion of pressure on her is outside that process.)
The women leaders also noted that aside from Sereno, other women in the opposition, such as Senator Leila De Lima and Vice President Leni Robredo, are continuously attacked either by the administration or its allies.
“Para sa akin, sa amin sa kanayunan, napakalungkot talaga rin na inuunti-unti talaga ang oppositionists yung mga kritikal o nagbiibgay ng puna sa mga di-makatarugnang gawi ng ating presidente at yung kanyang mga kapartido o mga kakampi niya,” according to Amparo Miciano of PKKK.
(For me and for us in the countryside, it's unfortunate that those who are opposing or being critical of the unfair policies of our President and his allies are being picked on.)
“Hindi mo agad makikita ang sexism pero lutang na lutang pag dating sa pagtalakay ng usapin lalo na pag nakikita mo na parang gung ho,” added Meth Jimenez of Sarilaya.
(You wouldn't initially notice the sexism, but it becomes pronounced when you analyze, especially when you notice that it's gung ho.)
CHR Commissioner Karen Dumpit refused to comment on the about Sereno but she noted that the Philippines moved three notches down in the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum
“Of course, it is the environment of misogyny that we have been hearing. Language matters, it is also basically what we see now in terms of women being maligned in public,” Dumpit said.