Manila, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno sent a letter to President Duterte regarding their alleged involvement with illegal drugs. With whom the later has been waging his war since he took office last June 30, 2016.
According to Justice Sereno, ” [A] premature announcement of an informal investigation on allegations of involvement with the drug trade will have the unwarranted effect of rendering the judge veritably useless in discharging his adjudicative role. “
Fellow justices say that the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary should be respected.
” If a judge of the RTC commits a crime, he/she should be investigated by the Judiciary, and not the Executive.”
Grounds for impeachment?
This happened after Chief Justice Sereno reminded the President. So while in his speech, he said:
” If this continues, tigilan mo ako, e di sige. Pag nagwala na… or would you rather that I declare martial law”
According to Fr. Ranhilio Aquino of the San Beda, Graduate School of Law:
” If all people, all officers for all the branches keep within the confines of their power, there would be no constitutional crisis… I have trust that in the end, cooler heads will prevail.”
For a political analyst, martial law should never be used to scare people.
” He’s walking into a political trap, that if he cannot extricate then he’s gonna have a problem. If he does that in his current situation, he will be going against the constitution. So theoretically, he can be impeached.” said Ramon Casiple of the Institure for Political and Electoral Reform.
Limitations of the Constitution
Fr. Ranhilio Aquino believes that as a lawyer, Duterte knows the limitations in the Constitution.
According to the Constitution,
” In case of invasion or rebellion… place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. “
… but it shouldn’t exceed 60 days, and can be questioned by any citizen of the country in the Supreme Court. The President should also report to Congress within 48 hours. And the Congress has the power to put an end or dismiss the declaration of Martial Law. And while Martial law is in effect, it doesn’t mean that the Constitution is suspended. All of these provisions had been inscribed in the Constitution as a stern reminder that “Martial Law is not a joke”.
Just our thoughts
According to the statement made by Sec. Martin Andanar, Malacañang spokesperson:
” The President merely asked a rhetorical question and said it under the context that his anti-drug campaign cannot wait for the slow wheels of justice – PH style. We have an Action Man for a President who believes justice delayed is justice denied. He is the type who at the onset of his presidency, … simply wants to hit the ground running and rid society of drugs, crime and corruption with urgency.”
There are two “buts” here, first, the President says it clearly, the challenge to Justice Sereno, “Do not create a crisis because I will order everybody in the Executive not to honor you”. What he just said was as clear as day? Isn’t it, Mr. Andanar?
Plus, according to the Presidential Legal Counsel, Atty. Panelo, those justices named by Duterte are not being charged with anything. He’s just naming them, said Panelo.
Therefore, Justice Sereno was right in saying that the named judges don’t need to turn themselves in and clear their names? So the President shouldn’t have issued that challenge in the first place. Isn’t that what you were saying Mr. Panelo?
Sec. Panelo must’ve been confused regarding what the President just did when he compared them to the media when they do their exposé. IMHO, Mr. Panelo, when the media exposé’s someone, they back it up with concrete evidences that are admissible in court. What your President is doing is merely “finger pointing”, an act that according to his 2016 SONA, drags the country back.
As for the second “but”… The war on drugs by the Duterte administration may be a necessary evil. But what happens when drug-related violence and criminalities goes down, but casualties on the part of the innocents start piling up? The government simply turns a blind eye on this issue and considers them a small number in their statistics. Is it because those victims are so small that they can’t afford to sue the government?
Can you please waive your immunity to lawsuits Mr. President?
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Source: ABS-CBN News