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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 14, 2018
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‘Fight for rule of law’
BY CARLA P. GOMEZ

 

“I will not resign,” a defiant Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno reiterated yesterday before about 1,200 students and supporters at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos gym in Bacolod City, as she called for her Senate trial to begin.

“Give me my day in the Senate impeachment court, let my Senate trial begin,” she said of those calling for her resignation.

“After all they were so proud of repeatedly saying they have evidence against me. If that is so bring it out in a real trial and let’s see who has the truth,” Sereno said.

Her 55-minute speech on “The Road to Judicial Reform: Achieving Justice through the Rule of Law” was met with a standing ovation and cheers.

Sereno also called on the students, who cheered her on and rushed to have groupies and selfies with her, much like a pop star, to stand up and fight for the rule of law and due process.

“Your future will be endangered if you do not have the rule of law. Do not believe that shortcuts can save our nation, it cannot. It can only bring us downward in a never ending spiral where your only safety is to make sure that you are on the powerful side at the moment – but remember all power ends,” she said.

“If you have the rule of law, regardless of who is the political strong person at the moment your rights and freedom are assured, “she said.

The chief justice said one should not back down from trials and challenges in life, it is one’s duty to the nation to stand up for the truth.

“The call for me to resign is not founded on reason, but only on convenience,” she said.

The proper constitutional process of impeachment should be followed, she said.

“What is peace if there is no justice?Peace is not the absence of conflict, peace is the presence of justice,” Sereno said.

“When you are standing on a just cause, when you are speaking the truth and your intentions are clean and not mixed with personal agenda but only for what is good for the country, then you must fight with all you might,” she said.

“This nation has no room for cowards,” she said, adding,“If truth is on your side, eventually the lies will come out.”

She said “If they can do this to the chief justice of the Supreme Court, one of the highest officials of the land, who else is free from this, no one,” she said.

Politicians should not control the judiciary, she said.

When you see an institution like the judiciary being weakened and destroyed, use your influence as netizens, through your votes and aspeople on the streets to say we want an independent judiciary, Sereno said.

She urged the youth to air their call for an independent judiciary by posting #Rule of Law and #Judicial Independence.

“You have to fight for your freedom, it cannot just be assured. You must work for it, you must demand it, you must claim it,” she said.

She also called on the youth to fight bullying, and air their anger against trolls and fake news.

“People should not lie, cheat and take advantage of others,” she said.

She called on the youth to say“no to injustice, yes to due process,” because, “if you find yourself accused and nobody is listening to you, you will feel the world collapsing on you,” she said.

The greatest threat to yourfuture is when your rights are nolonger protected, Sereno pointed out.

“The law is our refuge, ifthe law is controlled by the powerful, you have no place to run,” she told the youth.

“Our system of justice can work if together we fight for it. Dream heroic dreams, fight for our country, for a nation that is built on truth, justice, peace and righteousness and we will have genuine prosperity in our midst,” Sereno said.

Also at the UNO-R forum were Sereno supporters who carried posters that said “Chief justice post is God’s mandate for Meilou Sereno, to preserve judiciary’s independence, integrity, Support CJ Sereno!,” and “Meilou Sereno God’s anointed chief justice cannot be moved, will not resign. With God on her side she has the majority.”*CPG

 

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