MANILA — Former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Monday called for unity to end supposed injustices and wrongdoings in government.
Speaking to thousands of protesters flocked at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City for the President's State of the Nation Address, Sereno said President Rodrigo Duterte has violated many laws, particularly with regards to the brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.
Human rights watchdog groups report that at least 27,000 people may have been killed in the widely-condemned war on drugs, with no one brought to justice except in one high-profile case.
Latest police figures place the death toll at over 5,000, with authorities asserting that those slain in police operations had resisted arrest.
“Tatlong taon. Kaya pa ba natin na ang dekada nating ipinaglaban, ganon na lamang? Papabayag po ba tayo? Bawiin natin ang ating kasaysayan, ang ating pagkatao,” Sereno said, eliciting cheers and positive response from the crowd.
(Three years. Can we allow what we have fought for over the last decade to be erased just like that? Will you let that happen? Let us take back history, our humanity.)
Sereno, a vocal administration critic, was removed from the Supreme Court in May last year over her failure to make a complete declaration of her wealth. Critics view her removal as political.
“Sa araw pong ito, sabihin natin na tayo ay nagkakaisa. Ang kailangan po nating gawin ay tumingin sa future [kung] ano ang kailangan natin gawin para matigil na ang masasamang gawain ng gobyernong ito,” she added.
(On this day, let us say we are united. What we need is to look at the future, what we have to do to stop the wrongdoings of this government.)
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Sereno said people should move to protest in whatever form to defend what is right.
“Dapat hindi tayo titigil. Dapat talaga magsabi sila 'No more!' No more situation na parang kinakalimutan natin kung sino tayo. That’s not who we are, we are not killers,” she insisted.
(We should not stop. They should say 'No More!' No more situation where we seem to forget who we are. That's not who we are, we are not killers.)
Sereno said she would support individuals who would want to pursue an impeachment case against the President after he supposedly entered into a fishing deal with China in the West Philippine Sea.