First Female Chief Justice in Philippines Faces Impeachment

Photo via CNNPhilippines

By Andreo Calonzo and Clarissa Batino/bloomberg.com – Philippine lawmakers found probable cause Thursday to impeach one of the country’s highest-ranking women.

Maria Lourdes Sereno, the first female chief justice in the Southeast Asian nation, has been an outspoken critic of Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. The justice committee of the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the president’s allies, voted 38-to-2 in favor of impeaching Sereno on charges of corruption, failure to fully disclose wealth and other crimes. Sereno is an appointee of former leader Benigno Aquino.

Next, the House will need to vote to proceed on the impeachment. It needs only one-third of representatives in favor before it moves to the Senate, which would then conduct a trial on the actual charges, possibly in May.

Sereno, 57, has denied the allegations, calling them politically motivated. Coincidentally, the action comes on International Women’s Day.

“The current state of the nation is one where perceived enemies of the dominant order are considered fair game for harassment, intimidation and persecution,” Sereno said in a speech Wednesday during an International Women’s Day event. She cited an environment of “coarseness, including the denigration of women, rather than civility.”

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