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‘Go to hell,’ Duterte tells UN expert
Manolo B. Jara June 04, 2018
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MANILA: President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte reacted angrily with a “Go to hell” the warning of a visiting UN official that the recent ouster of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno bode ill for other members of the judiciary and warned this could lead to the deterioration of the rule of law in the country.

Duterte also denounced for “meddling in purely internal affairs” Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers, who aired his warning in an interview with reporters in suburban Makati City, Metro Manila, on Thursday.

“He is not a special person and I do not recognise his rapporteur title. Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” Duterte told reporters late on Saturday night on the eve of his departure for a three-day state visit to South Korea.

Garciap-Sayan said he arrived in the country for an academic visit and maintained he was not meddling in the country’s internal affairs but that as a UN rapporteur he felt “morally and ethically obliged” to speak out on issues like the ouster of Sereno by her own colleagues at the tribunal.

Garcia-Sayan served as Peru’s former foreign and justice minister during his country’s transition to democracy following the ouster of long-time president Alberto Fujimori before he was appointed to his present UN position in 2016.

But Duterte was equally insistent as he pointed out: “He is meddling. That’s an internal problem of the country. You should not meddle in it.”

Earlier, Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, said it was unfortunate Garcia-Sayan had been “misinformed” regarding Sereno’s ouster based on a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida and affirmed by a close and controversial 8-6 decision by the High Court.

As a result, Sereno, who appealed the decision, became the first impeachable official to be removed from office without undergoing the impeachment process as mandated by the Philippine Constitution.

Meanwhile, Malacanang Palace announced Duterte arrived in South Korea’s capital of Seoul on Sunday morning to start his three day state visit aimed at fostering stronger ties between the two countries particularly on trade and economy.

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