Doctor on Sereno's BBC interview: "Sereno was so obviously grasping at straws" - The Daily Sentry

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Doctor on Sereno's BBC interview: "Sereno was so obviously grasping at straws"

Doctor on Sereno's BBC interview: "Sereno was so obviously grasping at straws"
Ousted CJ Lourdes Sereno, screenshot from BBC
"Bias. Vindictiveness. Grasping at straws. Sense of entitlement. The interpretation of the constitution and the rules of court to favor her position. These were the things that Mrs. Sereno flaunted in this 24 minute interview."

Andrea Carigma, a Filipino doctor and a vocal supporter of the incumbent administration, in her Facebook account commented on the recent interview of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in an international news channel, saying that the latter did not answer the questions directly and "appealed to a vague sense of sympathy".

"“There must be room for dissenting voices”? As if there hasn’t been room for it at all. The dissent on national exposure has been so fervent, it’s already nauseating. Araw araw na lang may dissent. Most of us simply tolerate it because we respect democracy. Democracy is well and alive here in our country," she said.

In her interview with BBC's Hardtalk with BBC's Stephen Sackur, Sereno said that her removal from office was a showing that the Philippines' democracy hangs in the balance.

Andrea Carigma

Sereno deemed that President Rodrigo Duterte was attacking several institutions in the Philippines.

She then was asked if she was entering politics, citing what Sackur was calling political statements from Sereno with her interviews.

"You clearly did not always stray away from politics, I'm just looking at several public pronouncements you made after Mr. Aquino was replaced by Duterte. Announcements and public comments which many in the Philippines took as directly attacking President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies," he cited how Sereno made public comments on the actions of Duterte such as his implication of several justices in the judiciary of being involved in the drug trade.

"It's not a political statement at all," Serenos said, adding that she as chief justice was only upholding her duty to protect the independence of the judiciary.

Sackur questioned how a Chief Justice was making high profile political comments, citing how such was unusual in the United States.

To this Sereno said, "I am forced to remind everyone of our constitution. the democracy in our country must be protected at all times".

Sereno repeatedly said that an impeachment case must be heard for her.

"As of now, I am still denied my right to due process," she said, that until trial all of the accusations are gossip and unfounded allegations.

Asked if she did not in fact file the mandatory statement of liabilities and networth which became the ground for her removal through a quo warranto proceeding, she said,  "Not true at all. If you look into the motion of reconsideration, it canbe seen that i have a habit of filing these."

She then added that the inability to file the mandatory requirement is not grounds for impeachment.

Sackur noted how it was strange that she cannot find evidence of filing her SALN's, Sereno in turn cited a case in jurisprudence, but Sackur interrupted her saying that the statement was highly detailed and proceeded to another question.

The interviewer then proceed in questioning her about having a Toyota Land Cruiser, and booking luxury hotels.

"The rules say that whatever security vehicle the president is entitled to, I am entitled to. It got full court approval." Sereno said.

"Of course business travels is the rigor for someone who is entitled to the same, because my position is considered as one of the five highest positions in the country," she added.

"Your fellow judges in the supreme court clearly lost confidence in you," Sackur said, noting how eight of the judges in the SC voted to oust her.

"You talk about independence in the judiciary, but these are your fellow judges,” Sackur said.

"You lost the confidence of your colleagues. that disqualifies you as an effective chief justice,” he added.

Sereno replied that five of the eight justices testified against her, and thus should have been inhibited from the proceeding. six said she cannot be removed except by an impeachment proceeding.

Asked what she was gonna do if the SC upholds their decision, Sereno skips answering it and states how democracy is important, and that the issue is more than just her job, but is about being a voice of a democracy, and that the rules have been observed.

"I think the fight for our country's constitutional right more important than just a position."

"Are you now looking to become a leader of the opposition yourself?” Sackur asked.

“That’s  a very difficult question that must be answered only when a correct process has been sufficiently followed and by this is see the root of  our problems as the inability to empower the little people,” Sereno replied.

She said that more and more of these people are coming to her, and that her role is to make this known.

"I am not about to characterize myself as a politician, as an opposition leader, what I understand is that right now my present role is that there is a voice that must be heard, people are asking asking me to speak for them, and whether I am retained or removed as chief justice, that mission for justice must continue."

Source: Andrea Carigma