SolGen as people’s tribune wants Leonen out of Marcos protest case vs Robredo
MANILA, Philippines— Government’s law firm, the Office of the Solicitor-General, has joined the call for Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit himself from the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The OSG’s plea was submitted to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on Monday, the same day that Marcos submitted his similar plea for Leonen’s inhibition.
Leonen is the justice-in-charge of the poll protest replacing Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
Like Marcos, the OSG through Solicitor-General Jose Calida pointed out the delay in resolving the election protest.
The OSG said both Republic Act 1793 or the law that created the PET in 1954 and Batas Pambansa 884 that reconstituted PET requires immediate termination of an election protest. Under RA 1793, a protest should be decided within 20 months, while a shorter period of 12 months is stated under BP 884.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, especially in an election protest. The long delay in the resolution thereof is anathema to democracy as it disregards the sanctity of votes and the popular choice of the people,” read the OSG’s manifestation.
At a press conference on Monday, Marcos said the PET has been hearing the case for over four years, but Leonen would ask both the OSG and the Comelec only now about jurisdiction in handling the electoral protest.
“Clearly, it is a delaying tactic,” Marcos said.
READ EARLIER STORY: Bongbong Marcos asks Justice Leonen to inhibit from poll protest case vs Robredo
Basically, the arguments raised by Marcos is similar to what the OSG has raised but more detailed.
The former senator said Leonen “is hostile to my family,” as he mentioned Leonen’s dissenting opinion in the decision that allowed his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, be buried at the Libingan ng mag Bayani.
Leonen, in his dissenting opinion, said Marcos’regime has “caused untold sufferings for millions of Filipinos. Gross violations of human rights were suffered by thousands…Ferdinand E. Marcos stood by as his family, associates, and cronies engaged in systematic plunder.”
Leonen said allowing Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mag Bayan was “whimsical, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.”
“Justice Leonen’s dissent evidently expresses deeply-rooted personal hatred despite the clear intent and desire of President Rodrigo E. Duterte, as affirmed by the majority in this Honorable Court to have the burial serve as an instrument or symbol of closure, healing and reconciliation,” the OSG said.
Marcos and Calida’s motions also mentioned leaked reflections of Leonen that indicated the possibility of dismissing the protest. Both motions also took note that Leonen is an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Like, Marcos, the OSG also asked the PET, which is composed of Supreme Court justices, to re-raffle the case to another magistrate.
It was Marcos who first filed a motion to inhibit Leonen, followed by a press conference. Marcos denied a report that he is “joining forces” with Calida.
“I have my own legal team. I do not need to consult with the SolGen. Besides, he is not a supporter of mine. He is the counsel for the State, for the government…If he does in fact move to support our motion, then it means he agrees with our arguments,” Marcos told reporters, adding that he has not talked to Calida.
On the other hand, Calida said they are appearing before the PET as the “People’s Tribune.”
“It is incumbent upon the OSG to present to this Honorable Tribunal a legal position that it perceives to be in the best interest of the State, and the People, notwithstanding the findings and/or stand of any trial court, government office or party,” read the OSG’s motion.
Marcos has raised three causes of action in his protest against Robredo— annulment of the proclamation of Robredo; recount and revision of ballots in 36,465 protested clustered precincts; and annulment of election results for vice president in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan on the ground of alleged terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters, as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts.
Last year, the PET issued a resolution after the recount and revision of ballots in the three pilot provinces and stated that Robredo’s lead has increased from 263,473 to 278,566.
In his memorandum filed early this year, Marcos asked the PET to proceed with the process of annulling the results of the elections in three Mindanao provinces. [ac]
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