According to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the judges who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade should not surrender unless arrest warrants are issued against them.

In the four-page letter to the President, she described Duterte’s public declaration of narco-officials as ‘premature’ despite the President’s demand for the seven judges to surrender and report to the Supreme Court (SC).

“I would caution them against surrendering or making themselves physically accountable to any police officer in the absence of any duly issued warrant of arrest,” Sereno said. “As the sole entity charged with the discipline of judges, the Supreme Court decides when judges are excused from bench duty and report to it.” However, her claims were deflected by Malacanang.

According to Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s announcement is actually advantageous to the judges involved as they could use their chance to clear their names through the media.

Serena defends alleged narco-judges: No warrant, no surrender
photo from PhilStar
But Sereno was adamant. “It would matter greatly to our sense of constitutional order, if we were given the chance to administer the appropriate preventive measures without the complication of a premature public announcement,”

The Chief Justice reiterated the importance for the high court to know the source and evidence of the allegations which lead to the involvement of the judges to the illegal drug trade. She noted that while they are in support of the campaign, they should also be careful in handling investigations.

“A jugde’s reputation is his or her primary badge of credibility and legacy.”

Furthermore, she is worried for the safety of the judges because “too many of our judges have been assassinated […] a large proportion of them reportedly at the behest of crime lords.”

Sereno also confirmed that three out of the seven judges mentioned by the President is no longer with the judiciary. Judge Roberto Navidad was killed on January 14, Judge Lorenda Mupas was dismissed in 2007, and Judge Rene Gonzales has retired last June.

Gonzales and three other judges in the list, Exequil Dagala, Adriano Savillo, and Domingo Casiple are not handling drug cases. ASCS

Source: Philstar

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Sereno defends alleged narco-judges: No warrant, no surrender Sereno defends alleged narco-judges: No warrant, no surrender Reviewed by Kristian S. on 09 August Rating: 5

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