By Hector Lawas | Journal Online
THE official of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance – Maharlika (FLAG – Maharlika) described the support of the 100 law deans and law professors to Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen as a “cover–up” of the supposed wrongdoings of the magistrate.
Edwin Cordevilla, FLAG – Maharlika secretary – general said the deans and professors of schools of laws in the country was a “blanket petition, an act of karuwagan [which they] signed [as an] attempt at covering up misbehavior and mis actions of Leonen”.
“Kawawa naman sila”, Cordevilla added.
Cordevilla’s statement was his reaction to the support by 100 deans and law professors from various law schools to Leonen after the latter was accused of “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust”.
It could be recalled that Cordevilla’s “verified impeachment complaint” has contained how Leonen violated specific provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
By pointing at the provisions of the 1987 Constitution that Leonen violated as the very reason of Cordevilla’s accusation of “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust”.
The statement of 100 law deans and law professors ignored the impeachment complaint of Cordevilla.
They expressed their “collective support” for Leonen by alleging that the complaint has “unsubstantiated and groundless allegations” against the magistrate.
“[The impeachment complaint] should be dismissed for utter lack of merit”, the group said.
They also accused the impeachment complaint as an act of “palpable assault on judicial independence”.
It was contained in Cordevilla’s complaint that Leonen’s failure to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Network (SALN) for 15 years, or 15 times, was a deliberate violation of Section 17, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.
Leonen’s failure to decide, or release his ponente, on 82 cases raffled off to him by the Supreme Court en banc was in violation of Section 15, Article VIII in relation to Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
If the Constitution was not deliberately violated, Leonen should have long released his ponente on each case, particularly on the 37 “aging” cases.
The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), which he heads, has not released its decision on the 34 electoral protests filed on the latter.
The deans of schools of law and law professors that the impeachment move was not an attack on the independence of the high court because it is a citizen’s right that was included by the framers of the Constitution.
Cagayan de Oro Representatives Rufus Rodriguez said that impeachment act is the “single” legal way to boot out a Supreme Court magistrate and not through quo warranto petition.
Rodriguez, who is also a deputy speaker, stressed that his argument is based on the Constitution.
He admitted that Cordevilla’s complaint will be tackled by the House Committee on Justice by next year as the Congress is taking a Christmas break by December 18.