PET advises SolGen Calida to ‘conduct careful self-examination’
MANILA, Philippines — “Conduct a careful self-examination,” the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal advised Solicitor-General Jose Calida who joined former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos in calling for Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit from the poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In November last year, Calida and Marcos simultaneously filed separate motions calling for Leonen to inhibit himself from the vice-presidential election protest.
Calida, who is supposed to represent the Republic of the Philippines invoked its status as “People’s Tribune” in seeking Leonen’s recusal.
While both parties maintained that they are acting independently, Calida’s argument basically echoes that of Marcos.
Calida cited Marcos-related decisions of the Supreme Court where Leonen has shown “deeply-rooted personal hatred” against the former leader’s family.
The PET, in a strongly worded decision made public Thursday said the status as “Tribune of the People” should only be involved in the Republic of the Philippines, is a party to the case. In the poll protest, it is not.
It pointed out that Calida, if he was “genuinely concerned about the protracted resolution of the protest and its effect on the people who ‘deserves nothing less,’ then he should have confined the issue to the supposed delay in the resolution of the protest, as this was the only matter with relevance to the public.”
“We echo the Solicitor-General’s arguments and counsel him to conduct a careful self-examination. He should exercise his discretion in a way that the people’s faith in the courts of justice is not impaired.”
“Lamenting a decision he posits as unfavorable to a particular family and lackadaisically invoking People’s. Tribune is not hallmarks of a high-ranking government official on whom public trust is repost,” the PET said.
The PET added that the Solicitor-General should have been more circumspect before he cited unsubstantiated news articles referring to an article from The Manila Times that mentioned Leonen’s “Reflections” that pushes for the dismissal of Marcos’ poll protest.
Both Calida and Marcos cited the Manila Times article. Both motions also took note of Leonen’s bias against the Marcos family that can be seen in the justice’s dissenting opinions and votes.
The PET, however, disproved Calida and Marcos’ allegation against Leonen when in one of the cases that they have cited, the high court ruled in favor of the Marcos family with Leonen as the ponente.
“Ironically, it was protestant himself who gave evidence of Justice Leonen’s impartiality when he cited a case where Justice Leonen voted for members of the Marcos family,” the PET said adding that it is proof that the magistrate is only “doing his job.”
The PET also advised Marcos that “it would be best that he maintain his arguments within the realm of reality.”
The decision was “per curiam,” meaning the author was not disclosed but it was signed by 12 justices with Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Amy Lazaro-Javier on wellness leave.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.