Press Release
November 21, 2017

The Looming Impeachment of CJ Sereno and RevGov
By Sen. Leila M. de Lima
21 November 2017

The impeachment of the Chief Justice serves the Duterte regime two purposes.

The first is apparent. It is of course to remove a non-Duterte ally as the head of an independent branch of government in order to replace her with a more pliant Chief Justice beholden to the President. The charges against CJ Sereno are of course all flimsy, if not baseless. But that does not matter, when Duterte's intent is to weaken institutions capable of keeping his power in check and within constitutional limits.

The process of impeachment itself under conditions of persecution automatically undermines the capability of the Chief Justice to lead the judiciary in checking the abuse of authority of the Executive Department. It gives the President free rein in committing acts which should otherwise go unchecked by a judiciary that is not itself under attack or threatened by the two other branches.

This is why the impeachment of Sereno is doubly dangerous and alarming at a time when the President himself shamelessly and in a cavalier manner raises the specter of grabbing absolute power by overthrowing constitutional government and installing a so-called revolutionary government.

The second purpose is to cover up the failures of the President. The Sereno impeachment spectacle is a Duterte sideshow bound to become the main attraction once the process goes well under way in the Senate. When that happens, the national attention will focus on the everyday drama of another impeachment, while the scandals, incompetence, economic mismanagement, and extra-judicial killings go on unnoticed, again, without a Supreme Court that can act as a counter-balance to illegal, criminal, and questionable executive actions.

It might be that the second purpose of diverting the nation's attention from government incompetence and failures is more important, because if the President is going to grab absolute power anyway, then why still bother to remove the Chief Justice, unless the impeachment is exactly diversionary in nature.

On the other hand, removing the Chief Justice and declaring a revolutionary government are also complementary in Duterte's plans for establishing a dictatorship. He might intend to legitimize his dictatorship with a Supreme Court decision ratifying his revolutionary government, as what Marcos did, and to justify the continuity of his leadership, from legitimate President under the 1987 Constitution, to an outlaw dictator and absolute despot under a revolutionary government.

Given all these possible scenarios, one thing is clear. Duterte and his deception machinery is successful in diverting the people's attention from the issues that destroy his popularity, while at the same time conditioning public opinion to the possibility of a society ruled not by law, but by the whims and caprices of a sociopath.

All the hype about the impeachment and revolutionary government is misleading and misdirection. It is classic textbook deception to hide what is otherwise clear and undeniable: the 6.5 Billion worth of shabu smuggled by the Davao Group, Duterte's refusal to sign a bank waiver, the 13,000 dead in the war on drugs, the treason in the Spratlys and surrender of the West Philippine Sea to China, the ballooning foreign debt and fiscal deficit, the flatlining direct foreign investments, the nose-diving peso, skyrocketing inflation, an MRT that is falling apart, and unabated criminality that is encouraged by official acts of impunity of government leaders themselves.

In short, this is the obscurantism of a regime that has all but failed to govern and lead the nation, instead isolating it from the global community with its barbaric position on human rights as bannered by an indecent and shameless head of state.

We should keep all of these misdirection - the impeachment and Revgov - in perspective. This is an obscurantist government led by a President honed in the art of deception, lying, and blatant twisting of the truth. We must be wary not to take our eyes off from the ball.

And that ball is Duterte leading this nation to chaos and tyranny because all his solutions do not work, possessed as he is by a world-view that does not offer life and progress, only death and destruction.

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