New Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was warmly received by his colleagues on his first day in the Supreme Court, including the associate justice he had once asked to resign for alleged plagiarism.
Leonen, joined by eight other justices during the flag-raising ceremony on the court grounds, asked the officials and personnel of the high tribunal to “please be patient with me as I learn the ropes through this institution.”
Fresh from his job as the government’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Leonen said he hoped that after working with the “daang matuwid” policy of the Aquino administration, “my words and that of my colleagues can best exemplify what it can be to have a real government for our people.”
Leonen took the occasion to express his gratitude to the people who helped him “to be what I am” and that included people he had served, from farmers to the Bangsamoro in Mindanao.
“Let me say that I know my place. I know that I need to participate in a collective effort in this department of our government, and it is key work that matters … it is the ability to seek a common vision of what our country can be,” he said.
After his speech, Leonen shook hands with Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and the other associate justices, including Roberto Abad, Jose Mendoza, Jose Perez, Presbitero Velasco, Martin Villarama, Arturo Brion and Mariano del Castillo.
The gesture between Leonen and Del Castillo was interesting considering the former had led a group of University of the Philippines College of Law professors in calling for the latter’s resignation following allegations he had plagiarized parts of his decision in a case involving comfort women.