MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – In a rare but poignant moment in Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s career as adjudicator of the law, she sat down one-on-one with The Adobo Chronicles to address criticism about her recent speech at her alma mater, Ateneo University.
Here’s the unedited transcript:
AC: Thanks for giving us this opportunity to talk to you, Madam Chief Justice.
Sereno: Oh, it’s my pleasure. With so much misinformation and fake news that’s out there today, I felt I needed to talk to a reliable, non-partisan news outlet to address some issues relating to a recent speech of mine.
AC: Yes, in that speech you said and we quote, “The culture of impunity is on the rise.” What do you mean by that?
Sereno: Aha! That was the first misquote about my speech. What I said was that the culture of IMPURITY is on the rise.
AC: Can you elaborate?
Sereno: In the atmosphere of divisiveness in our country today, I really question the purity of thought of many of those who are opposed to our President, Rodrigo Duterte. I feel that they say and do things that they themselves do not believe in. All they want is to paint a horrible picture of our president and country so that they can get back in power. To this day, they are still in denial that they have lost the trust of the Filipino people and that they no longer have the moral ascendancy to govern. All they see is what comes to them through their yellow-colored lenses.
AC: In your speech, you also urged the graduates to, and again we quote, “speak out with truth even against the overwhelming tide of popular opinion and reach out to the oppressed and disenfranchised.” Who are these “oppressed and disenfranchised?”
Sereno: Again, I was misquoted. I didn’t say “tide.” I hate Tide. I’m more of a “Surf” person. My laundry is cleaner and smells fresher with Surf. Tide is so 20th century. Surf is now the popular choice among Filipino housewives.
AC: And by “oppressed and disenfranchised” you mean…
Sereno: The likes of Jim Paredes, Cynthia Patag, Leah Navarro, Raissa Robles and Carlos Celdran. For heaven’s sake, the beating they are getting on social media is so oppressive. I mean, they are just exercising their constitutional right to free speech. It doesn’t matter that what they say is dumb. We should all defend their right to say it.
As for the “disenfranchised,” I was referring to Maria Ressa and Rappler. I mean, the Internet has been taken away from Ressa, and we should support her in her demand to “take back the Internet.”
AC: Any comment on Senator Bongbong Marcos’ petition to take back the Vice Presidency from Leni Robredo?
Sereno: Sorry, I cannot comment on pending cases before the Supreme Court. You just have to wait for our final verdict.
(End of Interview)