Dispatch from Crame No. 152: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on the impeachment complaints vs Ombudsman Conchita Morales and Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno

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Duterte has shifted his gunsights on the Ombudsman and the Chief Justice because these strong women are in charge of the remaining independent institutions capable of checking the abuses of the President and his men.

It’s no wonder that the attack on OMB Morales came at a time when cases have started being filed against the men of his administration, not to mention the members of his Davao Death Squad and his own son. It is not enough for him to simply wait for the end of the Ombudsman’s term middle of next year. In the case of the Chief Justice, the attack came with the endorsement of the impeachment complaint against CJ Sereno.

The objective of course of the attacks is to eliminate the remaining institutional obstacles to Duterte’s exercise of absolute power. At the maximum, the plan is to remove the independent Ombudsman and Chief Justice and replace them with subservient allies. At the minimum, the intention is to keep them off-balanced and looking out for themselves, instead of performing their mandate of checking the executive’s exercise of his power and upholding the rule of law during these times of impunity.

In the face of repression, it is easier to go with the flow of the despot’s designs rather than to protest and oppose. I was to serve as the first example and lesson for those who dare to go against the President and expose the bankruptcy of his political movement and the disaster that it spells for the country. This is also the reason why sycophants and lackeys now dominate top posts in government. The reward for Duterte apologists and rabid supporters are juicy, never mind if these people are the most incompetent individuals who could possibly be appointed to government office.

This is a time when men and women of integrity and independence are persecuted, while con-artists, shysters and frauds are honored and glorified. These are dark times indeed, and Duterte’s impunity only assures us that this will continue to be a government of the most depraved grovelers.

With public officials like these, it is indeed an honor to be among the ranks of those who choose to stand with their principles, rather than those who bend the knee for a taste of power and corruption.

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