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Hands off the SC chief

The most powerful man in the land thankfully knows the limits of his own power.

The Executive, Judiciary, and the Legislature are co-equal and constitutionally separate and independent of each other.

This is to achieve a democratic system of checks and balance.

True, the Congress and the Supreme Court can obstruct the presidential agenda.

But this is no reason to get rid of the heads of both branches of government.

The Constitution prescribes a process for their removal, and decency or simply good taste dictates that the President steer clear of any effort to oust them.
    
Thus, Malacañang on Thursday said President Duterte respects the separation of powers of the three branches of government and would not meddle in the impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.
    
At a Palace briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag assured that the President would respect the House of Representatives and the SC, or any other co-equal branch of government for that matter.
    
“The President was always clear about saying that if and when the House of Representatives or any other co-equal branch would do so, then that is up to them,” she said.
    
Banaag, who is also a lawyer, said that with regards to the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno, the Palace would respect any action that is within the bounds of the law.
    
“We respect, if and when a civilian or any person for that matter would file a complaint against any impeachable officer. That is up to them because that is within the bounds of the law,” she said.
    
The Palace official also belied insinuations that the impeachment complaint filed against the Chief Magistrate has the blessings of Duterte since it was filed by a group allegedly allied with the President.
    
As for the complaint itself, she pointed out that it is the prerogative of Congress’ how to handle the matter.
    
“That is up for the House of Representatives to handle or tackle. It is really up to them to consider and reconsider,” Banaag said.
    
On Wednesday, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption chairman Dante Jimenez and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. president Eligio Mallari submitted the first complaint against Sereno to the House secretary general.
    
However, without an endorsement from a member of the House, the complaint was not considered to have been officially filed.