Manila Standard – ‘Poll protests raise cloud of doubt on SC justice’

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

The electoral protest against Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo appears to be one of the “big” issues that could raise a cloud of doubt on Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s credibility since the lawmaker is a member of Liberal Party.

The significance of Quimbo’s case is parallel with the electoral protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo since the latter was LP’s vice presidential candidate in the last 2016 elections.

Robredo is the present chairperson of LP after she became the country’s vice president.

Marcos filed his case at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on June 29, 2016, while Leonen is the ponente of Marcos electoral complaint since October 2019.

Leonen was appointed by then President Benigno Aquino III at the high bench on November 29, 2012.

Leonen first served for less than two years as Aquino administration’s chief peace talk negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front before his appointment as Supreme Court magistrate.

Former ABS party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera filed a quo warranto case before the HRET against Quimbo because the latter ran for congresswoman in the 2019 polls after she resigned as commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).

De Vera argued that Quimbo violated the election law because she had just resigned from her post.

De Vera believed his case should not take six months, more so one year, for the HRET to decide.

Leonen was elected by the Supreme Court en banc to head the HRET last October 2019.

Since then, Leonen has not made a move for the HRET to act and end the complaint against Quimbo and the 33 other electoral protests until this time.

In October next year, which is Leonen’s second year as HRET head, is the start of the filing of certificates of candidacies (COCs) for 2022 national and local elections.

Edwin Cordevilla, secretary general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance – Maharlika (FLAG – Maharlika), stressed in his impeachment charges filed at the lower chamber last November 7 that Leonen’s 34 pending electoral protest at the HRET had “hardly moved an inch.”

“The remaining pending cases of respondent (Leonen) involves a member of the Liberal Party, which, as we all know, is the political party of former president Aquino….” Cordevilla alleged in the impeachment complaint.

The FLAG – Maharlika’s top official’s other basis of Leonen’s supposed violation of the 1987 Constitution was the 82 cases that have been staying at Leonen’s office.

One of the cases was raffled off to Leonen on January 13, 2013 (Julie Parcon Song versus Lilia Parson).

Cordevilla said Leonen committed a “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.”

Cordevilla noted that he decided to come into the open and slapped an impeachment complaint against Leonen because “based on my readings and appreciation of available documents, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that Associate Justice Marvic Leonen doesn’t deserve to stay even a day more as a magistrate of the high court. He is shamelessly the very destruction of justice in the judiciary.”

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