CJ Sereno on the proposed shift to Federalism : We don’t have to ‘reinvent’ existing Constitution

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has been busy.

The Chief Justice slams the move of the Duterte administration regarding its intent to overhaul the 1987 Constitution. Weeks ago President Rodrigo Roa Duterte created a consultative committee its primary function is to draft a federal charter that would eventually be submitted to Congress for its eventual approval.

Sereno calls out the policymakers that instead of being so preoccupied with the idea of changing the Constitution, they should have been spending more time strengthening existing governmental institutions.  

"The Constitution, if we had just been paying serious attention to it, would've worked in the past and can still work in the future," Sereno said in a speaking engagement Manila.

The 1987 Constitution is still effective should the judiciary, Ombudsman and other constitutional commissions be granted autonomy and should be allowed to to enjoy "democracy, not authoritarianism," the Chief Justice said.

"We do not have to reinvent the wheel, at least in this area."

What should occupy much of our people's time is not politics but how we can build our nation brick by brick by ensuring that as designed, the important watchdogs and checks and balances that are designed to work, indeed work," Sereno said.

"For us to build a genuinely democratic and prosperous nation, all public institutions must be populated with people of integrity, skills, and the management know-hows to make the institutions run well," she said.

The Chief Justice also slammed unnamed  incumbent government officials for violating the values enshrined in the Constitution.

"The current state of the nation is one... where fake news and propaganda abound to deceive and manipulate rather than to enlighten and educate, where coarseness, including the denigration of women, rather than civility mark the language of the podium," she said. 

The top magistrate did not drop any name, but it would seem she is pointing to the President who has  received a lot of criticisms for his unstatesmanlike demeanor and racists remarks against women.

Early this week, the President has denied any involvement in the filing of an impeachment complaint against the Sereno, but admitted that he called out the attention of the chief justice for the several pending cases and her alleged flip-flopping decisions.

"You can ask anybody, I never initiated si Sereno,” Duterte said in a speech last Tuesday at the oath-taking ceremony of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission in Malacañang.

“I just called her attention because of the so many cases pending tapos pa-iba ang decision niya. ‘Yung the very complaint now of the justices, ‘yun lang ‘yun. O kita mo, ‘di lumabas rin," the President said.

Source: ABS CBN

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