Palace: Sereno free to invite people to protest against Duterte

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2019 10:19 PM

Malacañang sees nothing wrong with former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno saying that she is joining the fight for democracy against the policies of the Duterte administration.

Sereno made the statement Tuesday during a pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) press conference with progressive groups, wherein she encouraged other people’s support.

“Kung ano ang gusto mong characterization ng ganong panawagan, sa iyo na iyon. Ang alam ko lang, makikiisa ako dun sa mga lumalaban sa demokrasya. Maaring dati hindi ako nakikita ngunit hindi ibig sabihin na hindi ako magpapakita. Kaya yung mga hindi natin nakikita sa ganitong larangan ng pagkilos, magpakita na ho kayo,” Sereno was quoted as saying.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said the Palace will be watching her with the opposition with "amusement." 

“Aba eh, sama ako sa kanya kung lumalaban siya sa demokrasya dahil dapat talaga ipagtanggol natin ang demokrasya,” Panelo said. 

“But if she refers to those who are critics and detractors of the administration meaning that she has not joined them in the last few months, well I think the opposition will welcome her. We will be amused watching her,” he said.

Panelo said he doubts Sereno was inciting people to sedition by her comments, saying that the law provides for a healthy expression of legitimate grievances against the government.

“Baka naman she wants to join the rallies. Okay lang naman sa akin ang mga rallies against this government. In fact, it’s the President who encourages that. Under the Constitution, legitimate grievances against the government can be freely expressed,” he said.

“Ang problema 'pag you perform acts which are seditious, which are defined by law. For instance, when you incite people to hate a particular person like public official -- like the President -- that’s seditious. You incite them not to follow the law, that's seditious,” he added.