Malacañang: Sereno is responsible for her own ouster

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The Presidential Spokesperson responded to the former Chief Justice calling for Duterte's resignation. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said Friday that Maria Lourdes Sereno should "look at the mirror" to see that her ouster was her own doing after the former Chief Justice called for Duterte's resignation. 

"Ex-CJ Sereno should closely look at the mirror to see who is behind the Supreme Court ruling," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque was referring to Sereno's repeated accusation that President Duterte had a hand in her ouster through a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida. The petition, approved on May 11 in a close vote by Sereno's colleagues, invalidated her appointment in 2012.

Roque said Sereno was responsible for her own removal when she failed to file her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN). The petition was based on Sereno's failure to file 10 years' worth of SALNs during her stint as a professor in the University of the Philippines, a state university.

"She herself violated the Constitution by not filing her SALN, and she herself managed to alienate her own colleagues at the High Court," Roque said.

Moreover he surmised the opposition is using Sereno as a "rallying figure" and called their support for the former CJ,  "desperate."

"Ang tingin po, talagang desperado po ang oposisyon. Naghahanap sila ng isang rallying figure at ang napili po nila ay si  [Chief Justice]. Isang malaking pagkakamali po ito dahil kung maniniwala po tayo sa lahat ng surveys, hindi po pinagkakatiwalaan si  [Chief Justice] at napakababa po ng approval rating ni Chief Justice," he said.

[Translation: My take is, the opposition is desperate. They are looking for a rallying figure and they chose the [Chief Justice]. This is a mistake because if we believe in surveys, the [Chief Justice] is not to be trusted and her approval rating is very low.]

In a speech on April 9, Duterte said he will egg Calida to do his best in his bid to to oust Sereno from the Supreme Court top post.

"I will help any investigator, talagang upakan kita (I will really beat you up)," Duterte said then, referring to Sereno. "I am putting you on notice na (that) I am now your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court."

Roque added that he believes there is no reason for the President to resign because, unlike Sereno, he has the trust of the people.

"The President has not violated the Constitution, and unlike the former Chief Justice, PRRD enjoys high satisfaction, approval, performance, and trust ratings from the Filipino people," he added.