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President Duterte has offered a public apology to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno after berating her for questioning his list of government officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
“I got tangled with the Chief Justice. I would apologize to the Chief Justice for the harsh words. It was never intended,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City late Thursday night. “Because of the magnitude of the problem, it was my way of solving the problem within the ambit of my powers as President,” he said.
The Chief Justice recently wrote to the President about his “premature” announcement of government officials, including judges, allegedly involved in the illegal trade. Sereno has advised judges against surrendering to authorities without any arrest warrants.
The President, however, lashed back at Sereno, warning her against creating a constitutional crisis or else he might be forced to declare Martial Law. Duterte, in his military camp visit in Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday, cautioned Sereno not to interfere with his anti-drug campaign, saying he could order officials in the Executive branch not to honor her.
Sereno has expressed her appreciation to the apology made by Duterte.
“The Chief Justice appreciates the President’s latest remarks,” SC spokesperson Theodore Te said. “As previously announced, she will no longer say anything on the matter,” Te added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling and Jeffrey G. Damicog)