BY ASHZEL HACHERO and RAYMOND AFRICA
THE camp of defeated 2016 vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said they had nothing to do with the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Monday.
The complaint was endorsed by the former senator’s cousin, Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba.
“Sen. Bongbong is not connected and has nothing to do with the impeachment complaint filed against Associate Justice Leonen. We refrain from commenting on an event or case where we are not a party as it is inappropriate for anyone to make wild accusation on something that they have no basic comprehension of the allegations, have not read the complaint and are just but the usual ballyhoos,” said Marcos lawyer Vic Rodriguez in a statement.
It can be recalled that Marcos sought Leonen’s inhibition in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, accusing him of being biased and hostile to the Marcoses.
He also insinuated Leonen is delaying the resolution of his protest until it becomes moot and academic with the filing of candidacies in the 2022 elections.
Leonen is the ponente or justice-in-charge of the case.
The SC has unanimously denied his petition as well as a similar plea filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
The SC earlier dismissed the request of Calida and lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon requesting copies of Leonen’s SALN.
Gadon facilitated the filing of the impeachment complaint against Leonen on Monday.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba endorsed a 40-page complaint filed by his constituent, Edwin Cordevilla of the group calling itself the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government.
The complaint accused Leonen of culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly failing to dispose of at least 37 SC cases within 24 months as mandated in the Constitution.
The complaint also accused Leonen of arbitrarily delaying the resolution of cases pending before him as chair of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal since October 2019; and for betrayal of public trust for failing to file his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth during his tenure as professor of the University of the Philippines.
Minority senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan slammed the filing of the complaint, saying the move is unnecessary and counterproductive at this time of the pandemic.
“This is a distraction that will only drag lawmakers and the public into a pointless political fiasco at a time when government’s efforts should be focused on helping Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s battered economy,” said Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan called the filing “kalokohan (foolishness) as he said government officials must focus on the problems of joblessness, hunger, and the weak economy, aside from the pandemic.
Hontiveros said filing of an impeachment complaint will not bring any good to the Filipino people at this time except to some who have vested interests when the case against Leonen progresses.
She said lawmakers should instead focus on how to bring help to thousands of Filipinos who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and recent typhoons.
“With all due respect to our colleagues in the House of Representatives, I would like to put the spotlight back on the thousands of Filipinos who are bedridden or have lost their loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who have lost their homes due to the recent typhoons, and those who have lost their livelihood amid the economic crisis. Unahin natin ang tunay na pangangailangan ng taumbayan (Let us prioritize the real needs of the people),” she added.
Leonen’s former students from the University of the Philippines College of Law came to his defense, saying he is a person of “unimpeachable integrity.”
In a statement, members of the UP College of Law Class of 2000-Evening said they know Leonen as someone who is “committed to the rule of law and the supremacy of the Philippine Constitution.”