Thursday 19 July, 2018
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May araw ka rin! Sereno: Duterte mistaken to think Pinoys are easily fooled

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Ousted chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday vowed to continue to be a strong voice in defending the country’s laws and democratic institutions, and in exacting accountability from people in government, especially President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I stand before you now, stripped of my authority and my position by an unjust decision. But I do not have to be Chief Justice to defend our laws and institutions. I live the law, so do all Filipinos who uphold the dignity of every fellow Filipino,” Sereno told her supporters who gathered at the University of the Philippines shortly after the Supreme Court ruled with finality on the quo warranto case that sought her disqualification six years after her appointment.

“When we take up the cause of a voiceless Filipino, we live the law. Every time we show justice and compassion to a fellow human being, we live the law. Each day we resist the abuses of power and call out evil in government, we live the law. We live the law because the law is for us; it is our rights, our welfare, our protection, our solidarity. And we will continue to live the law and fight for our democracy and the institutions that safeguard it.”

Sereno said that Duterte, whose two-year rule is responsible for the weakening of the rule of law and sowing dissension and division, will have his own day of reckoning. “But truth has a way of coming out eventually. And he (Duterte) is making a mistake if he thinks the Filipino is so easily fooled.”

As an ordinary citizen, Sereno said she will keep standing up against Duterte’s anti-people policies, including his position on the West Philippine Sea, his infamous war on drugs that resulted in extrajudicial killings and disappearance of thousands of Filipinos, and attempts to amend the Constitution to pave the way for a self-serving federal form of government.

In her speech before the Coalition for Justice (CFJ), Sereno also took a swipe at Duterte’s leniency to China despite its occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea that legally and rightfully belong to the Philippines.

“Our very leaders are saying we have no strength, no will and no resources to fight for our sovereignty. Profanities, cowardice, and ignoble pragmatism dominate national discourse. Hindi natin kaya, wala tayong pera, mamamatay tayo.

“Our sights have been set low by the very leaders who should lead us to pursue lofty visions for our nation and our people. Our morale has been crushed by their talk of hopelessness against foreigners. Our spirits have been weakened as our own people are verbally and physically brutalized,” she lamented.

Sereno also trained her sights on Duterte’s minions for aiding and condoning his anti-people policies, as she warned that they, too, are subject to the Constitution and laws.

“Through all that, the propagandists would have us pin our hopes on one man—a blasphemous, self-styled savior who is willing to kill, someone who has unabashedly said he can replace Satan in might and monstrosity.

“It is blind idolatry to a President when people would have us overlook acts of injustice, unrighteousness and viciousness. It would have us forget that all officials, even the President himself, are subject to the Constitution, so that no human idol can ever enslave them. It would have us ignore and relinquish God’s gifts of freedom, constitutional rights, and rights over our lands and territorial waters.”

According to Sereno, this is no time for jokes, flip-flopping, lies, propaganda and improvisational governance as more and more people are facing starvation and getting killed.

“We are fighting against the viciousness the President has unleashed against the poor, the women, the religious, the lumads, the workers, whom he as directly or indirectly branded as his enemies,” she said.

She added: “This President has attacked and his supporters have attacked many who dared question his actions. Yet we will stand firm in our right, indeed our responsibility, to ask him the tough questions and take him to account. We will defend democracy, for it is true democracy that will lead to the alleviation of our lives as a nation.”

Sereno accepted the challenge for her to lead a “genuine people’s movement” that will hold government to account for its actions and help enlighten Filipinos on important national issues, the first of which is Charter change.

“The Constitution will be our moral compass, and genuine democracy and social justice will be our true north,” she said.

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