Manila Standard - Lawyer asks Leonen to inhibit self from Marcos poll protest

14 October 2020

By Manila Standard

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s failure to promptly address an electoral protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is more than enough reason to believe he is not capable of judiciously handling a case assigned to him more than a year ago.

Lawyer Larry Gadon made the statement as he urged Leonen to inhibit himself from the Marcos’s electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Gadon also accused Leonen, whom he described as a “Yellow Justice,” of intentionally delaying the process by issuance of a comment that would hasten the case.

“Yellow Justice” – while Gadon did not explain what he meant – often refers among political observers to the kind of justice that favors the Aquinos, the arch political enemies of the Marcoses.

“Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has prejudged the case of Bongbong Marcos versus Leni Robredo,” Gadon said.

Citing a perceived closeness to former President Noynoy Aquino, who picked Robredo to run as vice president under the Liberal Party, Gadon categorically accused Leonen of giving preferential favor to the former President who appointed him to the SC.

He added that Leonen owed so much from the Liberal Party which worked for his appointment to the high court.

Gadon also said that using pandemic as an alibi was unacceptable reason for the 11 long months of delay, adding the court never stopped operating even during the months that the government has imposed hard lockdown in most of the country.

Marcos, who narrowly lost to Robredo in 2016, filed a protest, demanding a recount of poll returns from three provinces in Mindanao.

The tribunal initially assigned the Marcos case to Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. However, Leonen took over the case on Oct. 29, 2019.

Interestingly, even before Leonen took over the case, he had openly talked about his legal point of view to members of the tribunal, Gadon said.

Leonen’s comment hinted that Marcos failed to specify the poll precincts in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao where alleged irregularities occurred.

“Accordingly, I respectfully recommend that the protestant (Marcos) be required to plead facts with more specificity. Otherwise, acting on protestee’s (Robredo) Motion for Reconsideration dated February 24, 2017, the protest must be dismissed,” reads part of Leonen’s comment.

Leonen added: “For us to keep doubting our elections at every possible instance, forces us to run in circles. It hampers our development and frustrates the empowering objectives of popular sovereignty.

“Absent clear anomalies, elections must be taken to have successfully manifested the free will of the sovereign. Thus, any election protest challenging the results of an election must clearly and specifically allege the irregularities that occurred and particularly identify the precincts where each violation occurred.

“Failure to do so warrants the dismissal of the protest.”

Gadon also cited a newspaper column that partly described as the physical state of Leonen’s document which had a portion of it that reads: “Subject to Proofreading.”

“There’s really something beyond this phrase,” added Gadon, who strongly urged the high court to keep Leonen off the case if only to ensure that the integrity of the court is protected and preserved.