Philippines' first female chief justice defiant amid ouster calls

Philippines' first female chief justice defiant amid ouster calls
From Al Jazeera - March 13, 2018

The Philippines' chief justice has vowed to fight "until the end" the impeachment complaint against her, despite calls from allies of President Rodrigo Duterte for her to resign.

In a speech on Monday, Lourdes Sereno said giving up her position will erode the independence of the country's highest court, and "embolden those who demand a subservient judiciary".

"I will not resign," she said. "Without the slightest doubt, the right thing to do is to fight this impeachment to the end."

Sereno was forced to go on leave by her fellow justices in late February ahead of her impeachment proceedings.

On Thursday, members of a committee in the House of Representatives, endorsed a complaint against her for a full vote on the third week of March.

A Senate trial is expected to follow as soon as the impeachment is approved.

A case is also pending before the Supreme Court asking that her appointment be voided.

Sereno, who is an appointee of Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino, is accused of failing improperly declaring her income, when she was applying for chief justice, and for abusing her position as head of the court.

She has denied all the allegations. Her supporters said she is being targeted for standing up to the president and his deadly war on drugs, which has left thousands of people dead.

During Duterte's first year in office, he clashed with Sereno, after the president released a list of supposed judges linked to the drug trade.

Defying Duterte


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