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CJ: Linking judges to drugs premature

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno said yesterday the announcement by President Duterte of several trial court judges involved in illegal drugs is premature as she cautioned these judges against surrendering to any police officer without a valid warrant of arrest.

In a letter to the President coursed through Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Sereno said “the Court (Supreme Court) looks with alarm at the proliferation of drugs, in a consensus shared with you, Mr. President, that dangerous drugs have been destroying Filipino lives and families.”

“We abhor its ability to even destroy public institutions, thus our proactive investigation of any report that judges and court personnel abet the drug trade,” the Chief Justice said.

“However, Mr. President, a premature announcement of an informal investigation on allegations of involvement with the drug trade will have the unwarranted effect of rendering the judge veritably useless in discharging his adjudicative role,” she said.

The Chief Justice also told the President that the SC “has been careful, all too aware that more often than not, a good reputation is the primary badge of credibility and the only legacy that many of our judges can leave behind.”

“Too many of our judges have been assassinated, 26 since 1999, a large proportion of them reportedly at the behest of crime lords, more specifically, drug lords,” she said. (Rey Panaligan)