Sereno ouster kills judicial independence amid executive and legislative failure to protect workers’ rights —KMU

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) joins other sectors in condemning the arbitrary, railroaded, and unjustified ouster of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno at the direction of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The state of workers’ rights and welfare has severely worsened in the two years since Duterte came into power. He has wielded executive power to legitimize contractualization, promote cheap labor and to engage gross trade union and human rights violations against unionists and labor rights advocates who criticize his tyrannical regime.

He has also worked through his allies in Congress to pass anti-people policies such as the TRAIN law which has hit the poorest Filipinos — including irregular and contractual workers — the hardest. Under Duterte, Congress has failed to heed calls for a national minimum wage, or to enact any kind of significant wage increase despite the huge gap between the various minimum wage rates and the living wage.

The judiciary stood as the last branch of government through which workers could assert for favorable rulings and protections of constitutionally-mandated labor rights, such as the right to job security and living wages.

Now, workers condemn the tyranny and budding dictatorship of Duterte in forcing the removal of Sereno. Her ouster is another move to consolidate his power over all branches of government, and to push through with his plans to establish his fascist one-man rule through the extension and expansion of the Martial Law in Mindanao or through the railroading of charter change, which would be a gateway to entrench his anti-worker and anti-people policies in the Constitution itself.

Filipino workers will not allow Duterte to pursue his ambition of becoming a fascist dictator and to push for worse anti-worker and anti-people policies. We join the Filipino people in protesting Duterte’s crackdown against critics of his tyrannical rule. Sereno’s ouster would only fortify the Filipino people’s unity in defeating his fascist rule and in advancing genuine democracy.