MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte hit back at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday, telling her not to interfere in his campaign against illegal drugs.
Speaking before the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro, the commander-in-chief warned the head of the judicial branch he may just declare martial law if the Supreme Court continues to interfere in his campaign.
"...ikaw ang kingpin sa judiciary. Ako, presidente. Ako may trabaho, ikaw, wala...Walang mga judges na nagpapatrol ng daan. Walang mga sheriff ninyo na naghuhuli ng... 'Yan ang mabigat na problema ko, na-inherit ko sa dumaan [na administrasyon], pati 'yung gobyerno na naglagay sa'yo diyan. Please, 'wag mo akong... hindi ako gago. If this continues, pigilan mo ako eh 'di sige. 'Pag nagwala na...or would you rather that I will declare martial law?" Duterte said.
(You are the kingpin in the judiciary. I'm the president. I have a job, it's not yours. Your judges do not patrol the streets to catch criminals. That is my job. This is the big problem which I inherited from previous administrations, including the administration that put you in your position. Please, I am not a fool. If this continues, go on, stop me. Or would you rather I declare martial law?)
He also threatened Sereno that he may order officials of the executive branch, which implement the country's laws, not to honor the high court.
"So, ikaw ang winarningan ko, hindi ako. Do not create a crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you. Gusto mong prangkahan? Eh nakialam kayo. May patay? Eh 'di paimbestigahan natin. Salvage? Hindi namin trabaho 'yan," he said.
(So, I am sending a warning to you. Do not create a crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you. Do you want me to be frank? You interfered. Someone is killed? Then let's have it investigated. Vigilante killings? That is not our job.
Sereno, in a letter addressed to Duterte, expressed her concern about the President's decision to reveal the names of 159 public servants, including seven judges who allegedly have links to the illegal drug trade
In her letter, Sereno told Duterte it is the high court, not the executive, which exercises administrative supervision over all lower courts.
READ: Sereno cautions 'narco-judges' vs surrender without warrant
'YOU MUST BE JOKING'
Duterte assailed Sereno's instruction to judges not to "surrender" to authorities unless an arrest warrant is issued by a local court.
"Manghingi ka ng warrant? Madam Chief Justice, you must be joking. You must be joking. Dalawa tayo abogado. Kayong lahat sa Supreme Court...do you know how long it would take to secure a warrant of arrest?" Duterte said.
(You ask for a warrant? Madame Chief Justice, you must be joking. You must be joking. We are both lawyers. All of you in the Supreme Court...do you know how long it would take to secure a warrant of arrest?)
"One single case in the Republic of the Philippines, the warrant to issue is a minimum of two months, three months. Pagdating sa Korte, Madam Justice, it will take forever. 'Pag natalo, aakayat yan sa Court of Appeals. It would sit there for about two years," he added.
(One single case in the Republic of the Philippines, the warrant to issue is a minimum of two months, three months. When it reaches the Court, Madame Justice, it will take forever. When the case is lost, it will then be filed at the Court of Appeals. It would sit there for about two years.)
"Now you're asking for a warrant of arrest for 600,000 Filipinos? In the meantime, 'yung bangag, anong gagawin mo? Let them to stay there? To what? To resume their criminal activities? To slaughter again? To rape?" Duterte said.
(Now you're asking for a warrant of arrest for 600,000 Filipinos? In the meantime, what will you do to drug users? Let them stay there? To what? To resume their criminal activities? To slaughter again? To rape?).
WILLING TO RESIGN
According to Duterte, he will continue his campaign against illegal drugs regardless of what Sereno says.
"Just because you are the Supreme Court, you order me? I will not follow you. Orderan mo ako? Bahala kayo diyan. I will order the military and the police to save lives. I am not saying that they should kill them. But in the meantime that you are protecting your juries there, there is crime on the streets," he said.
(Just because you are the Supreme Court, you order me? I will not follow you. You order me? It's up to you. I will order the military and the police to save lives. I am not saying that they should kill them. But in the meantime that you are protecting your juries there, there is crime on the streets.)
According to Duterte, he is willing to resign from his post as soon as he successfully eradicates crime and illegal drugs and the shift to federalism is approved.
"Siguro Ma'am I can give you an idea. Pagka-binilisan lang 'yang federalism, at nalinis ko sa droga ang Pilipinas, I am ready to retire. Kung ma-ready 'yang federalism by two years from now, three years from now, I will give way. And I tell you, I am good for retirement," he said.
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
Earlier on Tuesday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella justified the president's shaming campaign saying the Philippines is faced with a "clear and present danger" which requires "extraordinary measures."
''The situation is that there is a clear and present danger facing the nation. And intelligence reports are of such magnitude, of such breadth and depth that are extraordinary, and that is why he (Duterte) is calling for a public outcry,'' Abella said.
''The naming is part of the process of the warning, that there is such and such a situation. He is asking for the cooperation of these people to come up and clear their names."
Pressed for comment on calls for the administration to first come up with evidence and file actual charges before naming individuals, Abella said: "The length and breadth is of such magnitude, it needs extraordinary measures."
SC REVIEWING DUTERTE'S COMMENTS
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said the High Court is reviewing the President's new statements to Sereno.
"I am reviewing the transcript, to be fair to the President, and will be discussing the matter with the Chief Justice," he said in a statement.
Te added that Sereno will be releasing any statement after she has thoroughly discussed the transcript with "people she trusts."