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Sereno advised to resign months before Duterte first publicly asked her to quit: Find out why she stayed

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Former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno claimed a government emissary had advised her to step down as early as July last year or months before President Rodrigo Duterte publicly called for her resignation.

In a report by Philippine Star, Sereno said she was told this was the “politically smart” move to make in the face of Duterte’s determination to have her replaced for being too outspoken, specifically her call for alleged narcojudges to ignore Duterte’s arrest orders without a warrant in August 2016.

“Sometime in the middle of last year, in July or August, I was already told to resign. And it would have been politically smart because according to them it would have spared me from difficulty and pains and persecution,” Sereno said.

She did not identify the person who gave her the advice.

But Sereno dug in her heels even though she knew her ouster was inevitable with the House and the Supreme Court (where she has a few colleagues bitter about her getting the plum post in 2012) gathering behind Duterte.

She explained why she stood her ground:

“There were insinuations that I could walk away and do the painless thing. But I said, ‘If every public official who is ready anyway to face all her accusers and present her side will just resign and give up, then nothing will be left of our institutions’ Our institutions are to be peopled by strong individuals who, when they are sure of their convictions and of their innocence, they must fight – and I did that. I did the right thing. So that was not, according to them, politically smart.”

“If I had done what was politically smart, it would have been such a disservice, and I would have lost any ability to look young people in the eye and say, ‘fight for your convictions’.”