MANILA – Malacañang was not threatened by ex-chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s call for the public to stage a protest against President Rodrigo Duterte during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said it was not a threat but rather amusing for Sereno to be joining a protest against Duterte for the first time.
“If she refers to those who are critics and detractors of the administration, meaning that she has not joined them for the last few months, well, I think the opposition will welcome her. While we will be amused watching her,” Panelo said.
“If she will join the opposition to exercise her freedom of expression, then by all means, we will egg her to do that,” he added.
Panelo said Sereno’s encouragement for others to join protests cannot be considered as inciting to sedition as she is not egging the people to hate a particular public official like the President or incite them not to follow the laws.
“Baka naman she wants to join the rallies. Okay lang naman sa amin ang mga rallies against this government,” Panelo said.
“In fact, it’s the President who encourages that. You, because under the Constitution: legitimate grievances against the government can be freely expressed. Ang problema ‘pag ano na, you perform acts which are seditious as defined by law,” added Panelo./PN