Philippine chief justice and Duterte’s critic removed by colleagues

The Supreme Court of the Philippines on Friday voted to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (pictured) for her failure to declare all her financial assets and liabilities as required by law.  Sereno was a harsh critic of President Rodrigo Duterte. Her supporters said the decision to expel her is unconstitutional and signals the death of democracy in the country. Sereno, the first Filipina to lead the judiciary, was presiding over the en banc session of the high tribunal when the apex court nullified her appointment as chief justice in a 8-6 vote. Sereno had angered Duterte by calling for respect of law and human rights when the president was leading a brutal war on illegal drugs that left thousands of suspects dead. Hundreds of protesters gathered to support Sereno outside the court in Manila on Friday. The court’s decision raises a fundamental question as it has assumed the of role removing the top judge of the country. The power to impeach a judge solely rests with  the Congress.

 

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