WATCH: Stephen Sackur grills Maria Lourdes Sereno: “You clearly didn’t always stay away from politics


Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno faced Stephen Sackur in HardTalk BBC and they discussed about different things especially about the alleged attacks of President Rodrigo Duterte in different institutions of the government.

She claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he’s planting evidence when he was still a prosecutor, a sign that the former Mayor of Davao City could be using the same tactics in his alleged attacks against the Judiciary and his political enemies.

Later on, Stephen Sackur said that the former Chief Justice seems not staying away from politics and he brought up the public statements of Sereno against the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Sackur mentioned the concerns of Sereno before on how President Duterte handled the war against illegal drugs.

“You say you always tried to stay away from politics, you clearly didn’t always stay away from politics….Why did you decide, as a judge, to make such public comments [about the judges in the narco-list]?” Stephen Sackur asked Sereno.

In response, Sereno said that she’s only making a diplomatic reminder and not a political statement.

She said that as a leader of the judiciary, she must also observe the actions of a “strong president” like Duterte.

“You know Stephen, it’s not a political statement at all, Stephen. To the contrary, it just was a very diplomatic reminder that every official is bound to observe the constitutional guarantees of due process…” Sereno said.

However, it seems that Sackur is not convinced on the answer of Sereno.

“You say not political at all, so when you made all your comments about his list and also you advised officials not to hand themselves in without an official warrant, Duterte said that you were putting him in a corner,” Stephen Sackur said.

“Then he got more even angry when you make some comments about the decision to impose martial law right across the Mindanao,”

“In United States, In Western Europe, Chief Justices of the Supreme Court would not be making this very high profile public political comments,”

In response, Sereno said that President Duterte seems leading the people in a system disregarding the constitutional guarantees, so she was forced to remind everyone about the constitution.

After Sereno talked about democracy, Sackur mentioned the high popularity enjoyed by President Rodrigo Duterte because of his policies in the government, especially his crackdown against criminality.

Sackur also said that the judges who voted against Sereno in the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida might be an indication that the other judges already lost their confidence to the former Chief Justice.

In the last part of the video, the BBC Host also pointed out that many people believe that the governance of President Duterte would bring the Philippines into the right place.

“I would say to you, that Duterte has been welcomed to the American Whitehouse, the Philippines has still regarded as the partner by the European Union who offered them economic assistance,” Sackur said.

“You look at the international reputation of the Philippines, and yes there are grave concerns on human rights but still most countries appear to believe that the Philippines is heading in the right direction,”

“Are you saying that the international community should somehow be isolating Duterte and treating him as a pariah?”

In response, Sereno denies that she wants Duterte to be isolated, and only wanted the people to have “more room for descending voices.”

You can watch the whole video below:


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