Philippine CJ vows fight as Duterte, allies seek ouster Mar 09, 2018 0 319 12345 AFPManilaThe Philippine Supreme Court chief justice vowed to fight"bullying" and save judicial independence as President Rodrigo Duterte's congressional allies launched an impeachment process Thursday to remove her from office.Voting 38-2, the House of Representatives justice committee said there was"probable cause" to impeach Maria Lourdes Sereno, in a move critics allege is part of wider efforts by Duterte to destroy foes and usher in one-man rule.A US-style impeachment trial in the Senate will follow if the House adopts the committee report, focusing on allegations Sereno failed to pay about two million pesos ($40,000) in taxes."All kinds of lies, threats, harassment and bullying have been thrown my way but I will not yield," Sereno, the country's first female chief justice, said at an International Women's Day event in Manila."I am fighting for our future as a freedom-loving nation," the 52-year-old said, framing the case against her as an issue of"judicial independence".Aside from the impeachment case, the government's chief lawyer on Monday asked the Supreme Court itself to oust its chief justice, citing her alleged failure to disclose assets.Justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali said his panel will ask the lower house, dominated by Duterte allies, next week to send the case to the Senate for trial.The committee also accused Sereno of falsifying and tampering with court resolutions, excessive spending by buying a luxury official vehicle, staying in"opulent" hotels and flying business class.Duterte and Sereno first crossed swords in 2016 when the newly elected president demanded that judges he linked to the illegal drug trade hand themselves in to authorities as part of his crackdown on narcotics.The chief justice rebuffed him, citing rule of law and separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches of government.Police have since killed more than 4,100 drug suspects, with rights groups alleging more than 8,000 others have been murdered in what they describe as crimes against humanity.Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened including detained Senator Leila de Lima, the Commission on Human Rights, and an anti-corruption prosecutor who had investigated allegations of Duterte's hidden wealth.On Wednesday, the United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, criticised Duterte for his"authoritarian approach to governance"."I am concerned by deepening repression and increasing threats to individuals and groups with independent or dissenting views," he said. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Philippine women rally for rights Mar 09, 2018 0 50 New govt attack on critical Philippine news website Mar 09, 2018 0 45 Malaysia says MH370 report to be released after latest search ends Mar 09, 2018 0 47 Indonesia Islamic varsities 'ban' niqab over fundamentalism fears AFP Yogyakarta, Indonesia A pair of Indonesian Islamic universities are pushing female students to ditch niqab face veils -- with one threatening expulsion for non-compliance -- as concerns grow over rising .. Thai king to replace father on new banknotes BANGKOK Thailand's central bank displayed new banknotes on Thursday on which a picture of King Maha Vajiralongkorn will replace one of his late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The banknotes mark another step in .. Indonesia to hand over luxury yacht to US amid 1MDB probe JAKARTA Indonesia is making preparations to hand over a luxury yacht seized in Bali last month to US authorities targeting assets allegedly bought with money siphoned off from a Malaysian state fund, a police official .. Indonesian zoo seeks arrest of visitor who offered orangutan a smoke Jakarta The management of an Indonesian~zoo is seeking the arrest of a visitor who tossed a cigarette into an orangutan enclosure, a spokesman said on Thursday.~A video posted on YouTube showed the orangutan at the zoo in .. Bangkok Elephants tromped across a manicured pitch in Bangkok on Thursday in the kick-off of a polo tournament raising money for the animals, who are celebrated as a national symbol but often subject to abuse. Dozens of .. Philippines seeks 'terrorist' tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas REUTERS MANILA A UN special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas the Philippines wants declared"terrorists", according to a .. Malaysian PM committed to search Kuala Lumpur Malaysia is steadfast in its pursuit of finding MH370, Prime Minister Najib Razak~said on the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of the plane carrying 239 people."As our latest search shows, we are ..