Duterte directs Congress party-mates to impeach Sereno

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President Rodrigo Duterte and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 13) — President Rodrigo Duterte is not letting up on his call to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying she should have resigned a long ago.

"I am directing my party-mates," he said upon arriving in Davao City early Friday morning. "I am asking you to impeach the Chief Justice."

But the President clarified he was not directing Senate to remove Sereno from office, only appealing to the lawmakers in the House of Representatives who are set to decide on the chief magistrate's impeachment.

"So I'm asking my party-mates in Congress. Who am I to direct the Senate? 'Yung Congress, ang ibigay sa representatives because we were talking of impeachment. We are not talking of conviction," he said.

On March 8, the House Justice Committee found probable cause to impeach Sereno. When session resumes on May 14, the articles of impeachment will be included in the agenda of the House plenary — where Duterte enjoys the support of the supermajority.

The President also called Sereno an "ignorant" Chief Justice —  adding that if she were smart, no one would go against her and she would not make mistakes in her declarations.

"If you are that ignorant, you better go. You are just risking the country into a chaos. Umalis ka na, at hindi ka dapat diyan in the first place. And that term of yours, until what...2030? That's too long for an ignorant Chief Justice," he explained.

The President then said if he were the Chief Justice, he would resign.

"And so talagang dapat paalisin ka noon pa. Bobo ka," he said.

The Duterte-Sereno spat began anew when the Chief Justice insisted that the President was behind the petition seeking to unseat her. Duterte then tagged her as his number one enemy, just before he left for China.

The President arrived from Hongkong after attending Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, where he was able to secure over ₱9 billion in investment deals with the eastern giant.