Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. formally asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to compel Associate Justice Marvic Leonen from participating in his pending election protest against Leni Robredo.
In a 22-page Extremely Urgent Omnibus Motion submitted to the High Court, Marcos cited Justice Leonen’s well-documented bias against him and his family as one of the main reasons why the latter intentionally sat on his election protest for almost a year. Marcos also asked the Tribunal to immediately re-raffle his case and resolve all pending incidents relating to his electoral protest.
Justice Leonen replaced Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as the ponente of the case in October 2019. Both are appointees of former President Benigno Aquino and are known to be staunch allies of the Liberal Party.
“It is clear that we’ll never get justice if Leonen is around because of his hatred towards me and my family. This is evidenced by his past decisions where he unequivocally condemned me and my family. Its obvious he’s doing everything in his power to suppress the real story behind the 2016 Vice-Presidential elections, disenfranchising millions of Filipinos who wanted nothing but credible elections," Marcos said.
The Omnibus Motion cites several landmark cases depicting Leonen’s disdain for the Marcos family. One such case involved the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In his dissenting opinion, Leonen’s negative remarks extended to the other members of the Marcos family when he said, "...not only was he [Marcos] the President that presided over those violations, but that he and his spouse, relatives, associates, cronies, and subordinates were active participants." He went so far as to suggest that that the Marcos heirs issue a public apology for the supposed violations committed during their father’s time by saying, “there has been no sufficient public apology, full acknowledgement of facts, or any clear acceptance of responsibility on the part of Ferdinand E. Marcos or his Heirs.”
It will be recalled that Leonen was appointed by then President Aquino to be the chief negotiator during the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) talks. This led to the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), which was eventually struck down by then Senator Marcos who, at that time, was Chairman of the Committee on Local Government.
Marcos's camp believes that Leonen was using the election protest to exact 'vengeance' because he had thumbed down the BJE. Ironically, the massive cheating mounted against Marcos during the 2016 elections was said to have been done in the defunct ARMM.
Last week, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submitted their respective Comments on the election protest in compliance with the PET's order. Both affirmed Marcos’ position that the PET had power to declare the annulment of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, the three areas identified in Marcos’s Third Cause of Action.
“The fact that both the Comelec and the OSG agreed with my position is a clear sign that the protest should move forward. However, Justice Leonen's bias and deliberate procrastination continue to drag the case," Marcos said.
Marcos added, "The right thing to do is for Justice Leonen to recuse himself from participating in my election protest so that the case can finally move forward. We need to resolve the issue of legitimacy -- one way or another.”
Marcos’ election protest has remained unresolved for 4 years and 9 months now.