On the heels of the ouster of the Philippine Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on May 11, MALAYA: US Movement Against Killings and Dictatorship and for Democracy in the Philippines (“MALAYA Movement”) condemns President Rodrigo Duterte’s “further drift into dictatorship.” Just days before the one year anniversary of President Duterte’s imposition of martial law on Mindanao, Sereno’s ouster was done through a petition for quo warranto, a move widely viewed as both illegal and a politically motivated attempt to silence opposition to the President.
“The Philippine Constitution provides that all impeachable officials can only be removed by Impeachment. The eight Associate Justices dismissed Chief Justice Sereno by exercising a power which does not belong to them. Since only the Congress of the Philippines can remove the CJ through impeachment, the eight Justices dismissed Sereno through Quo Warranto in violation of the Constitution,” stated National Co-Lead Convener of Malaya, Dante Simbulan, Ph.D., a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (1952) turned activist during the Marcos dictatorship. “Also, the circumstances surrounding the dismissal indicate that the action was really taken upon the intervention of President Rodrigo Duterte on the eight Justices. Duterte admitted that he wanted CJ Sereno out of the Supreme Court. It is also reported that the eight members who unconstitutionally dismissed Sereno had an ‘axe to grind’ against her,” said Simbulan.
The ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Supreme Court Chief Justice has eroded the remaining checks and balances in government, with Duterte now having control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In response, MALAYA Movement has issued a call for a national day of action on May 23, as Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao marks its first year in effect. MALAYA Movement calls on Filipinos across the United States and all people who oppose the dictatorial moves of Duterte to express their protest at the Philippine Embassy and consulates across the United States.
MALAYA is a U.S. based movement against the killings and dictatorship in the Philippines and has members across the United States. It aims to advance the cause of freedom and democracy in the Philippines. For more information and to become a member, visit https://malayamovement.com and sign the MALAYA petition.