Sereno: Attacks against me 'funded by formidable machinery'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — Despite controversies hounding her, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was warmly welcomed by students at a forum in a university in Quezon City.

Sereno delivered a strong speech at the Univeristy of the Philippines Diliman, calling out the attacks against her person and her office as "funded by formidable machinery.”

The Chief Magistrate also warned it would be dangerous for the rule of law and democratic institutions if the impeachment and resignation calls against her work.

"The stakes for the rule of law if the evil machinators of the impeachment or the resignation scheme succeed is that no one, not one man, especially not one woman will be safe in this country. Everyone will have to look for a political patron to save herself from incessant harassment, threats, and bullying," she said.

Sereno added, "It opens all kinds of interpretation which can only hasten the death of democracy in the country. This kind of malevolent and concerted attack against the values we hold dearest in our hearts...is enabled by noise and confusion."

Sereno believes fake news, alternative facts, and vulgar language used to call persons, genders, and advocacies degrading names are tactics to divert attention from what is really happening in the country's democratic institutions and Constitutional rights.

She called on the people to focus on what is important, and not on what she calls "intrigues ala showbiz" which prevent people from asking important questions.

"There are interagency and intra-agency fights that people should no longer pay attention too. There are intrigues ala showbiz that should just be noted and no longer merit the subject of long posts. They are just side shows. Instead ask the real questions. Is there reason to this apparent madness?" she said.

READ: SC: 13 justices wanted Sereno to go on indefinite leave

She urged everyone to "fight for democracy, fight for the rule of law. fight for judicial independence" and in doing so "call a red herring for what it is. A decoy...a stunt."

The Chief Justice emphasized that fighting for our democracy should be done in a spirit of calm and not anger.

She added the public should be articulate, sincere, and truthful.

When asked by reporters about the intervention filed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Makabayan bloc asking the Supreme Court to junk the quo warranto petition against her, Sereno said she was happy the interventions were filed, but did not comment on them as said said she has yet to read the documents.