The Philippines: President Duterte’s attack on the Chief Justice is an attack on the rule of law

April 10, 2018

The ICJ today condemned a threatening statement made by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attacking Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of the Philippines Supreme Court.

The ICJ said that the President’s remarks constituted an assault not just on the Chief Justice, but on the independence of the judiciary in the country.

The ICJ urged President Duterte to respect judicial independence and not to exert political pressure on any government official or agency to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

In a press conference on 9 April 2018, President Duterte told reporters: “I’m putting you on notice that I’m your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court.”

He also called on the House of Representatives to expedite impeachment proceedings presently underway against Chief Justice Sereno.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for President Duterte to make such a statement not only because it constitutes direct intimidation of the Chief Justice, but the chilling effect it may have on other independent judges who carry out their professional duties,” said Emerlynne Gil, Senior International Legal Adviser of ICJ.



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