President Rodrigo Duterte described ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as an unrespectable lawyer filled with gimmickry to gain sympathy as word war between the two flared up anew.
The President’s remark was in response to the former SC Chief Justice’s recent verbal attack on the chief executive that the firing of top government officials was “mere gimmickry” and all for the show.
“ I don’t believe her. And I don’t respect her also (sic). Full of gimmick eh. She’s the one who makes gimmick, while we do our job,” the President said in his speech during the inauguration of Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
The President erupted in anger after Sereno said the President was recycling his officials who were fired after being found to be engaged in graft and corruption and reappointed to other agencies.
Sereno accused the President of having a hand in her ouster but Duterte has repeatedly denied this, yet Solicitor General Jose Calida initiated the quo warranto petition that led to her removal from the Supreme Court.
Duterte said it was Sereno who started gimmickry, saying “You ask people who are in state of playing gimmicks with government.”
“She thinks the Supreme Court is hers...” the President said in Tagalog.
The President also defended his move to reappoint some of the officials he removed, saying it was part of a revamp and they were transferred to other offices where their expertise was needed.
“She was claiming recycle? Who…? I place people to their appropriate capacity. Now it doesn’t mean that I transfer you from one another—it might be a revamp. But it does not mean to say you have some performance lapse,” the President said, replying to Sereno’s accusation of recycling fired officials.
“You know Sereno is a lost cause. She had it coming, she asked for it. That’s what happened to her. She was playing gimmickry. Impressing people and this and that,” Duterte said of the former Chief Justice.
“Now that she is out, she is full of adjectives and gimmickry. The Supreme Court magistrates have minds, they are lawyers like you, gimmick?” Duterte said.
“I don’t believe her. And I don’t respect her.” the President said.
Duterte also said Sereno did contribute significant issues that concern the people.
“What did she contribute all these years? Ask her: What have they contributed to the betterment of the country except indulging in politics?”
“Give me one who came up with a splendid record of public service except playing with words,“ he added.