Student leaders from various universities expressed their support for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday, two days after the House Committee on Justice began hearing the impeachment complaint against the chief magistrate.
Calling themselves the "Youth for Chief Justice Sereno," the student leaders held a press conference, holding placards denouncing what they call "political persecution" and wearing masks of personalities involved in the impeachment complaint.
These personalities include complainant lawyer Larry Gadon, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali, House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who once urged Sereno to resign.
One student also wore a mask of Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who Gadon identified as one of his alleged sources in his impeachment complaint. De Castro has denied Gadon's claim.
Peter Olivar, one of the group's leaders said De Castro's denial show that Gadon is the "national tsismoso ng bayan."
San Beda Law student leader Roy Devesa, meanwhile, accused the executive and the legislative branches of the government of "ganging up" on the Judiciary branch.
Justine Balane of Akbayan Youth claimed that the attacks against the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman are all intended to usher in the creation of a dictatorial government.
"It is clear that the few remaining vestiges of democracy in the country are slowly being erased as the burgeoning dictator carefully consolidates power to himself. Thus, we must stand by what is left of our democratic institutions and those who continue to protect them," the youth group said in a statement.
"Kung walang laban si CJ Sereno, paano pa kaya tayo?" Cassie Deluria, a councilor from the UP University Student Council, asked.
Polytechnic University of the Philippines Student Regent Elijah San Fernando meanwhile said the impeachment proceedings detract from the real issues such as contractualization, unemployment and subsidies for tertiary education.
The group vowed to continue their protest actions in the coming days.