Malacañang on Monday, March 12, said it would not ask Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to step down from her post despite mounting calls for her to resign.
“I guess it’s up to her. We left the decision to her. No one can force her to resign if she doesn’t want,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said during a Palace press briefing.
Court officials and employees issued a manifesto calling for Sereno’s resignation during this morning’s flagraising ceremony at the Supreme Court.
Secretary Roque said the decision to resign should be made by Sereno herself, although he expressed hope that the Chief Justice would take into consideration the sentiments of various stakeholders urging her to quit.
“I think the sentiment even of the lower court judges have been made known, and we can only hope that the Chief Justice will take all these sentiments into consideration. But the decision to remain is hers to be made,” Roque noted.
Gov’t to file charges vs suspect in Surigao journalist killing
During the same press briefing, Malacañang reiterated the government’s pledge to guard press freedom as it is set to file charges against the suspect in the killing of radio broadcaster Christopher Lozada.
The 29-year-old broadcaster died last October 24 in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur after unidentified men opened fire at his vehicle on his way home.
Secretary Roque said the government remains firm in its commitment to safeguard the lives of media personnel and to address impunity in the country.
“Again, the position of the Duterte administration is that we value freedom of the press, we value the right to life, and that is why the office of [Undersecretary] Egco was created, precisely to deal with the issue of impunity,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson also announced that four local government units (LGUs) have become recipients of the Department of Finance (DOF)’s climate change adaptation projects.
Roque said four LGUs would receive budgetary allocations from the agency’s People’s Survival Fund (PSF), which aims to aid vulnerable communities to prepare for the adverse effects of climate change.
These LGUs include Lanuza, Surigao del Sur with P39.08 million; Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte with P80.7 million; San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu with P33.89 million; and Gerona, Tarlac with P38.1 million.
The PSF, which has a programmed annual fund of P1 billion in the National Treasury, is on top of annual appropriations allocated to LGUs for programs and projects related to climate change, Roque noted. ### PCO-Content