‘Just another abused legal recourse to suit the needs of a losing candidate, and prolong what has been revealed to be a fruitless exercise.’
IT’S an old trick known to law practitioners everywhere: if you think things aren’t going your client’s way, you can always file for a motion to inhibit the judge. If you think about it, this has to be one of the oft-used and very much abused tactics in the book. As a legal recourse, it should be used quite sparingly and only in meritorious instances, but the practice is so rampant that getting practitioners to do just that is like herding cats.
And now we come to the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen by a self-professed Marcos loyalist, and immediately endorsed by Marcos cousin and Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba. Like clockwork, this move came after a failed bid quashed by the Supreme Court itself (there was an attempt to secure AJ Leonen’s filed statements of assets and liabilities as preparation to a quo warranto proceeding) and a denied motion to inhibit from the electoral tribunal case filed by Bongbong Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
We’ve all seen how parties aggrieved by a judge’s decision can react: ranging from frustrated acceptance (and resort to other legal remedies) to the more sinister and unspeakable actions. The impeachment complaint filed against AJ Leonen is somewhere in between – dripping with impunity and reeking of desperation. Just another abused legal recourse to suit the needs of a losing candidate, and prolong what has been revealed to be a fruitless exercise.
It is nothing more than a horrifying flex of power, one that forcibly distracts the Court from more pressing issues at hand. Just another useless thing that competes for the Court’s attention and resources, from a child who throws a tantrum because he refuses to accept that he has lost. Not to mention the sordid signal that this sends out to the other justices: move against me and you can be next. It is a shameless and duplicitous way to pressure the Court to bend to one’s will, when all else fails.
Then again, we should not be surprised that Marcos Jr. and his sycophants have resorted to such tactics, given that his father, the ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, flicked off those who opposed him as he would a fly, rule of law be damned. Same playbook, different era: the tools of power, money, and influence yielded as easily as second skin.
It’s another good opportunity to take a hard look at our representatives and see who will not be swayed by these tactics. With the exception of the expected support from Solicitor General Jose Calida, one wonders if this impeachment attempt will also attract the interest of the present occupant by the Pasig River. Will his irritation with Vice President Robredo impel him to pick up the phone and tell his allies in Congress that he wants this done?
Asking his allies to get behind this effort – one that mainly benefits Marcos Jr. and not the incumbent himself – will definitely require expending considerable political capital. Will he, or won’t he?