News Release

President Duterte: No involvement in Sereno ouster

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, May 16, denied his involvement in the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by the Supreme Court (SC).

“I said it — there was one congresswoman or congressman, or Justice, single Justice magsabi may kinausap ako diyan na — I can guarantee you, I will resign,” the Chief Executive said in an interview in Malacañan following his meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

President Duterte stressed that he never lifted a finger on the ouster of the former Chief Justice and explained that it is “out of character” to meddle with the issues in the Supreme Court.

“Sinabi ko na it’s not my habit…. It’s out of my character to do that. Hindi ako nanghahabol ng tao,” he said.

The President also denied that he ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to file the quo warranto petition against Sereno.

“It was his job to find faults. Hindi ko inaano. Whatever he thinks that it is his duty to perform, hindi ako nakikialam,” President Duterte said.

Voting 8-6, the SC ousted former Chief Justice Sereno on May 11 by a petition filed by Solicitor General Calida that questioned the validity of her appointment in 2012.

Duterte: There is no point of declaring war with China

Meanwhile, President Duterte said there is no point of “declaring war” with China over its militarization in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea as it would be a losing endeavor for the government.

“I can declare war on China tonight. At sino ang magpunta? Sundalo ko? Pulis ako? Mamatay lang lahat ‘yan,” President Duterte said.

“Why will I go to war for a battle that I cannot win?” he added.

The President said he would discuss geopolitics some other time and explain why he allowed things to just “stay there.”

“There is an airport. There are missiles there installed. There are military equipment already in place,” he said when asked about his statement on the reports that China has landed some of its air assets in some of the areas.

“So what’s the point of questioning whether their planes land or not? There’s an airstrip,” he added.

The President however reassured the Filipinos that he would insist on The Hague ruling during his term. ### (PND)