Sereno: Duterte destroying institutions that make PH a democracy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2019 07:31 PM

Sereno: Duterte destroying institutions that make PH a democracy 1
Ousted Chief Justice Sereno takes the stage during a protest before the 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte on Monday, July 23, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS CBN News/File Photo

MANILA - Former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday accused President Rodrigo Duterte of destroying institutions which make the Philippines a democracy.

Sereno said in a statement the President's rejection of the Constitution and personal dealings with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea have destroyed the country's institution as a democracy.

"The President has himself committed what he assails the CPP-NPA for doing: destroying institutions that make our journey as a democratic nation possible," Sereno said.

Sereno also slammed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for "irrationally" defending the President's actions.

"Secretary Panelo speaks of short-term compromises that are not founded on law nor any enduring principle to justify the President's actions," Sereno said.

Sereno, a staunch Duterte critic, was impeached in May 2018, a move that analysts then said could imperil democracy in the country.

The former chief justice said when Duterte ends his presidential term, the country will have to pick its "broken" democratic constitution.

"When the time comes for President Duterte to pass from the stage of leadership, all we will have is a nation with no moorings. No protection against abuses of power [and] no institution strong enough to defend our people from dictatorship," Sereno said.

Sereno called on all supporters of Duterte to view the Constitution as "a framework to guarantee our long-term future as a country" and remind the President of his duties to the country, particularly defending the Philippines' sovereign right in the West Philippine Sea.

"Even President Marcos understood the advantages that the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas gave archipelagic states like the Philippines," Sereno said, referring to the international legal framework to govern all activities and uses of the world's seas and oceans.

Critics have accused Duterte of treason and liable of impeachment after he said last June that Chinese fishers will not be barred from fishing in the country's exclusive economic zone.