The Manila Times - Leonen denies being lazy, incompetent

News & Interviews
14 December 2020

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen denied being lazy, incompetent and corrupt when he faced fellow justices last week.

Unimpeachable sources said Leonen delivered a speech during the court’s en banc session on Tuesday, a day after an impeachment complaint was filed against him before the House of Representatives.

Leonen, according to the sources, told his colleagues that there was no truth to the accusations levelled against him, particularly the expose made by The Manila Times that he had been sitting on numerous cases for years.

He added that he will face the impeachment complaint.

The sources said after his speech, Leonen distributed T-shirts marked “Bar Muna Bago Jowa.” The magistrate is the chairman of the incoming bar examinations. However, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta joked that it should be changed to “Bar Muna Bago Joma,” referring to this writer for coming out with the exposes against Leonen.

The Manila Times acquired copies of documents showing that of all the Supreme Court justices, Leonen had the highest number of “sleeping” cases.

The magistrate, based on the documents, had been sitting on at least 37 “aging” cases.

Leonen also had the most number of “non-aging “cases — 45. These cases are not yet up for decision and are waiting for other pleadings to be submitted.

In the overall backlog of cases, Leonen has 82.

Two of Leonen’s cases have been gathering dust for almost eight years. Fourteen cases have not moved forward for five years, one case for seven years, two cases for six years, one case for four years, six cases for three and nine cases for two.

Among the unresolved cases are those with far-reaching consequences. One case is that of the National Association of Electricity versus the Manila Electric Co. involving a power rate increase. The case has been in Leonen’s care for more than five years.

The case of the Republic of the Philippines versus Lucio Tan, assigned to Leonen on Feb. 19, 2013, involves the forfeiture of Tan’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.