President Duterte yesterday turned the tables on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, accusing the country’s highest judiciary official of endorsing anarchy for issuing “dangerous statements” about his administration’s ruthless drug war.
“Madam justice, you are again wrong when you say, ‘Do not allow yourself to be arrested when there is no warrant.’ You will only cause more deaths,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech to the military here.
“(That) is a very dangerous statement. You will promote anarchy with the statement that you give,” Mr. Duterte said.
Despite growing public anxiety over the spiraling drug killings, the President vowed that “there will be no anarchy [on] my watch.”
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Sereno reiterated that adherence to the rule of law “will allow us to survive as a nation,” saying the judiciary as an institution would “keep the social fabric intact, address people’s cry for justice, and thereby prevent society’s descent to anarchy.”
Mr. Duterte, who worked as state prosecutor for 10 years before serving as mayor of this city for over two decades, said the law allowed warrantless arrests.
He said an individual may be placed under arrest while about to commit a crime, had actually committed a crime and was committing a crime.
The 71-year-old Chief Executive also narrated how he once kicked a judge for his refusal to issue an arrest warrant for a case he was then handling as a government lawyer.
“It’s really wrong. Ma’am, I’m sorry but don’t give such a statement,” he told Sereno.
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