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Dismissed Filipino Chief Justice to challenge her fall



The top-ranked chief of the Philippines will protest the decision to dismiss her after she fought President Rodrigo Duterte over his lethal drug war, her spokesman said Saturday.

Colleagues of Maria Lourdes Sereno voted on Friday to remove her as Supreme Court Justice in an unprecedented decision that sparked a legal firestorm

"She will file MR (reconsideration request)", said her spokesperson Carlo Cruz in a message to AFP without working in detail.

Duterte had openly demanded Sereno's removal from court and called her an "enemy" after they collided because of his bloody war on drugs and alleged abuse of power.

Sereno's expulsion came following a petition filed by the chief prosecutor – one appointed by Duterte – who claimed she was not qualified for her position and accused her of failing to submit activity and liability statements over the past few years – allegations that she categorically denied.

Legal experts, including other Sup court judges, have argued that Sereno's dismissal is a violation of the Constitution, stating that a judiciary can only be eliminated by impeachment in Congress.

In the comments released on Saturday, dismissive judge Marvic Leonen called the move "a juridical abomination." Petty judge Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa said: "This case marks the time in which the court commits seppuku (ritual suicide) – without honor."

Pacifico Agabin, constitutional law expert at the University of the Philippines College, told AFP Sereno's appeal would be unlikely to succeed and said, "I do not think any of the judges will have a change of heart."

Sereno, who has called on her supporters to "fight for justice and demand accountability," is the one to stop Duterte's last prominent critic after he has spoken out against the president.

Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened, including Senator Leila de Lima, who has been arrested, the Commission continued to hold Human Rights and an anti-corruption prosecutor who alleged that Duttete hid wealth.

Duterte has been criticized worldwide for nearly two years for human rights abuses, particularly in connection with his bloody campaign against illegal drugs, of which some 4,200 suspects were killed. Legal groups claim that the actual number is three times higher.


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