‘I wish you will also find your peace,’ Leonen tells accuser after dismissal of impeach complaint
MANILA, Philippines — Following the dismissal of the impeachment complaint lodged against him before the House of Representatives, Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Thursday appeared ready to move on from his ordeal, but was magnanimous enough to also wish his accuser well.
“I wish you well, and I wish that you will also find your own peace,” Leonen said to his impeachment complainant, Edwin Cordevilla of a group called the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government, as well as those who supported the latter’s cause.
Cordevilla’s complaint was endorsed at the lower chamber by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, a relative of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos whose election protest against Leni Robredo was dismissed by the high court in a decision penned by Leonen.
The Cordevilla complaint accused Leonen of betrayal of public trust for alleged non-filing of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth when he was still teaching at the University of the Philippines and culpable violation of the Constitution over the alleged delays in the resolution of cases in the SC and election cases before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
It further alleged that Leonen did not file his SALN from 1989 to 2003 and from 2008 to 2009 when he was serving as UP faculty member.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives committee on justice unanimously dismissed the complaint, on the ground of insufficiency in form and substance since it lacked authentic records to support its allegations.
Aside from lack of authentic records, the complainant also has no personal knowledge of the alleged violation committed by the magistrate attaching as annexes news reports, the House panel also said.
Leonen is one of the three remaining magistrates appointed by the previous administration. He is known through his strong dissents in various cases.
Previously, the law deans and professors, in a statement viewed the impeachment as an assault to judicial independence.
“The impeachment is a palpable assault on judicial independence, in the attempt to remove an Associate Justice for standing as an obstacle to the ambitions of a privileged few,” read the statement of law deans and professors.”
In his statement Thursday, Leonen said now is not the time for recrimination as the world faces the twin threats of pandemic and effects of climate change.
“This is not the time to destroy institutions to satisfy greed and lust for power. We cannot progress by destroying the lives and reputation of others,” he said.
“Our titles, our public persona, even our very lives are transient. With our brief privileges, let us courageously focus on the essentials: do what is right at the right time in the right way, serve our people and serve them well,” he added.
Leonen also lauded the House leadership for not giving into constitutional misuse and affirming independence of the judiciary.
However, Leonen said “there is no victory to be celebrated by anyone.”
If anything, he said the impeachment complaint should remind some “not to waste our time and resources for narrow parochial selfish gains.
“There are those in positions of leadership who will clearly see your motives and will do the right thing. Our people clearly see your motives. At the right time, they will do the right thing,” he said.
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