MANILA: The Philippine Supreme Court chief justice vowed to fight “bullying” and save judicial independence as President Rodrigo Duterte’s congressional allies launched an impeachment process Thursday to remove her from office.
Voting 38-2, the House of Representatives justice committee said there was “probable cause” to impeach Maria Lourdes Sereno, in a move critics allege is part of wider efforts by Duterte to destroy foes and usher in one-man rule.
A US-style impeachment trial in the Senate will follow if the House adopts the committee report, focusing on allegations Sereno failed to pay about two million pesos ($40,000) in taxes.
“All kinds of lies, threats, harassment and bullying have been thrown my way but I will not yield,” Sereno, the country’s first female chief justice, said at an International Women’s Day event in Manila.
“I am fighting for our future as a freedom-loving nation,” the 52-year-old said, framing the case against her as an issue of “judicial independence”..