The Office of the Solicitor (OSG) led by Jose Calida scored the supposed bias of Supreme Court Associate Justice Mavic Leonon in handling the electoral protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
In an Omnibus Motion seeking to inhibit Leonen from taking part in adjudicating the electoral protest of Bong Bong Marcos filed on Monday, the Office of the Solicitor General said the Supreme Court Associate Justice showed “scathing dissent” in the case of the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
The OSG particularly cited a portion of Leonen’s dissent on the burial of the former president, which read: “Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos presided over a regime that caused untold sufferings for millions of Filipinos. Gross violatings of human rights were suffered by thousands. The public coffers contributed to by impoverished Filipinos were raided. Ferdinand E. Marcos stood by as his family, associates, and cronies engaged in systemic plunder. The national debt ballooned during the regime.”
The dissenting opinion of Leonon also cited how the late president Marcos was “eventually ousted by a public uprising. His regime and the abuses committed during that time led to a complete rethinking of our constitutional order.”
The OSG said that based on Leonen’s dissenting opinion that sharply criticized the late president, the associate justice showed he lacked “competence and probity.”
“Blinded by partiality, Justice Leonen has betrayed his oath to administer justice with competence and probity,” the OSG’s motion stated.
The OSG also disclosed how the mainstream media has portrayed how Leonen has shown bias against the Marcoses, which is also a good reason as to why he should be inhibited in the proceedings on the young Marcos’ electoral protest.
“Philippine media practitioners have not minced words and have been less than polite as they, by way of example, have written and described the situation as: ‘Atrocious delay of justice in Marcos election protest’; ‘Duterte’s unfinished legacy’; ‘Gone haywire’; and ‘Why hasn’t Bong Bong learned from his father?”, the OSG stated in its motion.
Furthermore, the OSG said Leonen’s not deciding on the electoral protest of the Bong Bong Marcos violates Batas Pambansa (BP) No. 884. Specifically, Section 4 of BP 884 states “The Tribunal must decide the contest within 12 months after it is filed. In the case of a tie between the candidates for President and/or for Vice President involved in the contest, the Tribunal shall notify the Batasang Pambansa of such fact, in which case the President or Vice President, as the case may be, shall be chosen by a vote of a majority of all the Members of the Batasang Pambansa in session assembled.”
The Batasang Pambansa is now the House of Representatives. Bong Bong Marcos’ protest before the PET has been pending for more than a year.
LEONEN CAN DESTROY REPUTATION OF JUDICIARY
Finally, the OSG said that allowing Leonen to continue taking part in adjudicating the electoral protest of Bong Bong Marcos will “destroy” the reputation of the whole Judiciary.
“A refusal to inhibit, given the political stakes involved, will destroy the reputation of an independent Judiciary. Non-inhibition will likewise result to the sense that whoever loses the case was not accorded due process given the contrasting expectations,” the OSG said.
Bong Bong Marcos also filed on Monday a motion asking the Supreme Court to immediately inhibit Leonen from participating in any of the proceedings relating to the electoral protest he filed before the PET.
Marcos also asked for a re-raffle of his election protest. The younger Marcos wants to annul the election results in three Mindanao provinces, which is opposed by incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo.
Based on the tally during 2016 national elections, Bong Bong Marcos lost to Robredo by a slim 263,000 votes. SOVEREIGNPH