• ‘Authoritarian rule’ looms as Duterte seeks ouster of SC chief, Ombudsman–lawmaker


    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to oust two government officials in constitutionally mandated positions are “dubious and malevolent” attempts to wreck democratic institutions and the eventuality of an “authoritarian rule” is not far behind, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives said on Tuesday.

    “The constitutionally guaranteed independence of the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman is under siege without legitimate anchorage,” Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay said.

    “With the impending destruction of democratic institutions even as Duterte already has full control of the Congress, the military and police establishments and the bureaucracy, an authoritarian rule can be a harsh eventuality,” Lagman said.

    Lagman also slammed the decision of the House committee on justice, headed by Rep. Reynaldo Umali, to deny the counsel of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to cross examine the witnesses against her, saying this is compounding the gravity of the situation.

    Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales are accused of alleged corruption and betrayal of public trust.

    Morales ordered the investigation on Duterte and his family’s wealth allegedly acquired through corrupt activities.

    The investigation stemmed from a complaint Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Duterte. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA




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