CEBUANOS should take a stand on the impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno before the Senate, said several cause-oriented groups supporting the embattled chief justice.
“This movement is not just for Chief Justice Sereno, but for the next generation,” Noe Santillan, of the Movement Against Tyranny-Cebu, told a press conference dubbed as “Stand up with CJ.”
Dr. Phoebe Sanchez, of Karapatan-Central Visayas, also described as “overkill” the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor-General.
Members of the Movement Against Tyranny held a rally to show their support for the embattled chief justice, who is on leave.
Sanchez said that Sereno should be afforded due process by giving her the opportunity to present her evidence during trial in the Senate.
“We are dealing with a madman! What kind of government is this?” asked Sanchez.
In a statement, the group said it suspects that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Sereno out of the judiciary for issuing an opposing ruling against the SC’s decision to acquit former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder.
Sereno and Duterte also clashed over the decision to bury the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao during the Marawi crisis.
The group said that Duterte’s relentless effort to impeach Sereno is simply to control the judiciary, just like what he is doing in the House of Representatives.
During a forum at University of the Philippines Cebu campus last April 5, Sereno said she is ready to present her evidence during the impeachment trial.
The chief justice faced the Supreme Court in Baguio City yesterday to answer questions on the quo warranto petition that the government’s top lawyer had filed, even as the House was deliberating on the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
Retired Supreme Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. also came to Sereno’s defense.
He lamented how a democratic society with a Constitution that guarantees the rule of law and due process denied a public official her basic right to be heard.
Davide said that the judiciary’s “First Calvary” was when Sereno asserted her defense of its independence when the executive department tried to interfere in the matter of disciplining judges.