Philippine News Agency - Impeachment complaint filed vs. SC Justice Leonen

7 December 2020

By Filane Mikee Cervantes and Benjamin Pulta | Philippine News Agency

MANILA – An impeachment complaint was filed on Monday against Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen at the House of Representatives for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Edwin Cordevilla, secretary general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government (FLAGG), submitted the impeachment complaint before the Office of the House Secretary General.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, a cousin of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., endorsed the complaint, while lawyer Larry Gadon served as the legal counsel.

In the impeachment complaint, Cordevilla accused Leonen of culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly failing to dispose of at least 37 cases within 24 months.

Cordevilla noted that this is in violation of the constitutional mandate requiring the speedy disposition of cases.

"Respondent’s track record of gross inefficiency as shown by the snail pace in which he resolves his cases casts doubts on his competency. No other sitting Justice has ever displayed the same inefficiency and incompetence," the complaint reads.

Cordevilla also alleged that Leonen "arbitrarily, willfully, intentionally, [and] deliberately" delayed the resolution of cases pending before him as chairperson of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), noting that there are more than 30 pending electoral protests" pending before the HRET.

"By failing to act on the cases pending before him both in the Supreme Court and the HRET, respondent has clearly betrayed public trust. His incompetence and inefficiency, has caused the erosion of the public’s faith in our judicial system," it added.

Cordevilla claimed that Leonen betrayed public trust after he failed to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for a total of 15 years during his tenure at the University of the Philippines.

"Since respondent failed to file his SALN for 15 years, it would be difficult for the investigating authorities to pin him down in the event that a corruption case is filed against him," the complaint read.

False issues

Leonen, meanwhile, said while his office has received information on the matter, he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

The magistrate also expressed confidence that the complaint does not merit the attention of the country's leaders.

“Given the urgent and pressing needs of our people during this time of crisis, we are confident that our leaders will do the right thing. Certainly, this may not be (the time) to attend to false issues raised by some for clearly personal or vindictive reasons,” Leonen said in a statement.

In November, the SC affirmed the junking of Gadon's petition seeking to secure certified copies of Leonen's statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) for the years 1990 to 2011.

Gadon also asked the Office of the Solicitor General to file a quo warranto petition against Leonen over his alleged non-submission of SALN. (PNA)