April 18, 2018
In what is expected to irk President Duterte anew, five groups of lawyers have filed a complaint before the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the supposed unjust interference of the state on judges and lawyers in the country.
In today’s press conference in Quezon City, the lawyers’ group denounced the apparent pressure exerted by the President on lawyers and judges who go against his wishes.
The groups unilaterally narrated how the recent actions of the Philippine government have negatively created an impact that put the independence of the judges and lawyers in peril.
Former party-list Rep. Nerie Colmenares of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said the President’s supposed vindictive acts is more evident in his support for the impeachment, quo warranto case and his verbal attacks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The actions by the President against the Chief Magistrate according to Colmenares had sent “chilling effects’’ on the judges and lawyers.
Using the presidential platform, Colmenares chided the President who is the head of the executive branch of government for publicly issuing threats against Sereno who is his co-equal being in the judicial branch.
Calling Sereno ignorant, stupid, coward and dumb, Colmenares said the President continued his tirade against the Chief Justice upon his arrival from a four-day state visit in China last April 13.
Duterte had lambasted Sereno for telling the judges whom he said were involved in illegal drugs not to surrender to authorities without warrants of arrests issued against them.
Colmenares in reaction to Duterte’s declaration that he is immune from suit agreed but at the same time insisted that he is “not immune from investigation’’.
The lawyers added that the President had not spared Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo president of the 40,000 strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) from his tirades.