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Sereno: Duterte may have violated ‘spirit’ of Consti’s preamble

07-01-2018, 06:53 PM
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Sereno: Duterte may have violated ‘spirit’ of Consti’s preamble

Sereno: Duterte have violated ‘spirit’President Rodrigo Duterte may have violated the Constitution by calling God "stupid," but it is unclear if the transgression is actionable or not, ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Thursday. Sereno said Eddie Villanueva, founder of the Jesus Is Lord church who earlier suggested Duterte's anti-God remark may be unlawful, was "correct in a certain sense." This was because Duterte, as President, is required to preserve and defend the Constitution and its spirit, she said, adding that the preamble, which contains an invocation of the "Almighty God," is an "integral part" of the Charter. "There is a violation of the spirit of the preamble of the Constitution," Sereno said. "But whether that is enough for action to be taken remains to be the question," the former top judge said in an interview on ANC. Duterte, leader of a Catholic-majority country, earned criticism from political figures, Church leaders and the Filipino religious after he called God "stupid" and found fault in the biblical creation story. Sereno, a Christian, said Duterte was "courting serious misinterpretation" by making the widely-discussed comments because the Constitution, which contains the "collective sense of the Filipino people" talks about "a sense of awe at that God." "You don't just divide people by saying 'I have a god who is perfect, yours is not.' So that is what he's basically saying: 'I am 'correct, the rest of you are wrong... or was it just an afterthought," she said. Duterte's act may not be a crime given its non-inclusion in the Revised Penal Code, but Sereno said he seems not to remember that Carlos Celdran, a performance artist, "who was just talking about the behavior of priests inside the Catholic Church had to face a criminal case." Celdran was found guilty of "offending religious feelings" in 2013 after he protested the Catholic Church's opposition to what was then the Reproductive Health Bill. "Perhaps, do you think that there is a sense of immunity that he is feeling from the fact during his tenure, the jurisprudence that holds is that the perception of people is that there is somehow immunity for his actions?" Sereno said. Duterte has formed a three-man committee to hold dialogue with the Catholic Church and other religious groups amid intense criticism of his anti-Christian doctrine remarks. — Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/MDM, GMA News


Sereno: Duterte may have violated ‘spirit’ of Consti’s preamble

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