“WOULD you rather that I declare martial law?”
This was the question posed by President Rodrigo Duterte to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if the judiciary will get in the way of his ongoing war against illegal drugs.
Duterte made the remarks after Sereno wrote him a letter regarding the judges that was included on his list of alleged drug coddlers.
“’Yan ang mabigat na problema ko. Hindi ako gago. If this continues, pigilan mo ako, o ’di sige. Or would you rather that I declare martial law?,” the President said in his speech in Cagayan de Oro City.
Duterte said many have suffered because of the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
“Pinapatay ang mga Pilipino. I grieve for the so many women raped, men killed, infants raped, tapos ipitin mo ako? Ikaw ang kingpin sa judiciary. Ako, Presidente. Ako may trabaho, ikaw wala. Walang mga judges na nagpa-patrol ng daan. Walang mga sheriff ninyo na naghuhuli,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, the SC yesterday ordered the conduct of a fact-finding investigation on the alleged involvement of four incumbent judges who were linked by President Rodrigo Duterte in the country’s illegal drugs trade.
The magistrates issued the order during its regular en banc session where they agreed to treat Duterte’s speech naming seven judges in government’s list of personalities involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs as a complaint against the judges.
In her letter addressed to Duterte on Monday, Sereno indicated that only four out of the seven judges in the “war on drugs” list are still active.
They are Judge Exequil Dagala of the MTC, Dapa-Socorro, Surigao; Judge Adriano Savillo, RTC, Branch 30, Iloilo City; Judge Domingo Casiple, RTC, Branch 7, Kalibo, Aklan; and Judge Antonio Reyes, RTC, Branch 61, Baguio City, Benguet.
In its resolution, the court directed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to submit formal complaint-affidavits against the four judges within seven days and furnishing the judges with a copy of the complaint.