‘We are well on our way to dictatorship,’ Pangilinan warns

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan

MANILA — The impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was not just a move oust her but also an attempt to control the Judiciary, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said on Thursday.

“The impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Sereno, it appears, isn’t simply directed at the Chief Justice,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

“It can very well be directed at the entire High Court: submit or else,” he added.

Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon filed the impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives late on Wednesday after it was endorsed by 25 lawmakers.

Gadon alleged that Sereno failed to disclose her real net worth, bought a luxury car using public funds, and pressured judges to defy the Duterte administration.

A vote of one-third of the 293 members of the House is required to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, whose members will serve as judges in the trial.

Pangilinan warned that such move could be a prelude to a dictatorship.

“Unless we act and defend our democracy and freedoms, we are well on our way to dictatorship,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has criticized Sereno, who has been vocal against his violent campaign against illegal drugs, several times on different issues.

In his latest tirade, Duterte accused Sereno of “sitting” on the temporary restraining order against two provisions of the Reproductive Health Law.

“Until now, two years ago, nag-expire na ‘yung medisina; Sereno is sitting on it. What’s the problem, ma’am? Gumastos tayo, bumili na tayo ng medisina tapos nag-expire na lang,” Duterte said.

“And yet, nagbili tayo ng medisina, expecting that it would, you know, be needed by the government — para maumpishan na,” he added.