MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte should resign after saying he would step down once proven he had a hand in her removal from the Supreme Court.
"Pang-ilang beses na natin narinig na magre-resign siya? Galing sa kaniyang bibig, ang pag-amin na siya ang pasimula at magpupursigi sa pagtanggal sa akin. Puwes, ginoong Pangulo, mag-resign ka na," she said in a forum at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
(How many times have we heard that he will resign? It came from his mouth, an admission that it was he who started and pursued my ouster. Well, Mr. President, just resign.)
Duterte on Wednesday denied any involvement in Sereno's ouster.
“If there is one congresswoman or congressman or a single justice na magsasabing may kinausap ako diyan, I can guarantee you I will resign,” he told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he and the President would not want to comment on Sereno's latest remarks.
"Hayaan na po natin siya at hayaan na natin siyang manahimik bilang pribadong indibidwal," he told reporters.
(Let's leave her be and let her live a quiet life as a private individual.)
Sereno was ousted by her peers at the Supreme Court last week after they decided that her appointment as top magistrate was void. Her post was subsequently declared vacant.
This came about a month after Duterte declared himself Sereno's "enemy" after she questioned why the Solicitor General, who is under the President's office, wanted her out.
Duterte also ordered the House of Representatives to expedite her impeachment.
In his petition, Solicitor General Jose Calida sought to nullify Sereno's appointment, saying she was "unlawfully holding" office due to her failure to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALNs) when she applied for her post, as required under the rules of the Judicial and Bar Council.
SERENO HITS ADMINISTRATION POLICIES
Sereno also criticized Duterte's recent statement that Chinese President Xi Jinping assured him that he would not get ousted.
"Accountability niya ay sa Tsina. Ganun din pala, akala ko ang accountability ko ay sa Pilipino," she said.
(His accountability is with China. I thought my accountability should be with the Filipinos.)
"We demand a presidency that is accountable to the people," she added.
In a separate forum, she also hit Manila's closeness to Beijing.
"Lahat na lang ng excuse sa gobyernong Intsik ay pinapayagan at sinusulong pa nga," she told her audience at the Ateneo de Manila University.
(All the excuses by the Chinese government are accepted and even propagated.)
Sereno also denounced the continuing martial law in Mindanao, declared in May last year when the Marawi siege erupted, and the administration's war on drugs, citing alleged killings under the campaign.
As chief magistrate, Sereno had voted to limit martial law only within Marawi City when the issue was brought to the court in July last year, and dissented when its Congress-approved extension was questioned in February.
"Maaaring wala tayong mga military na naka-puwesto sa ating mga kanto at walang military trucks na gumagala sa ating mga kalsada, ngunit ano po ang gumagala ngayon? Mga mamamatay-tao na nakasakay sa motorsiklo," she said.
(There may be no military personnel in our streets or military trucks roaming around, but what do we actually have? Killers aboard motorcycles.)
"We move forward as a country because we cannot tolerate this evil anymore," she added.
-- report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News