The Manila Times - Leonen threatens justices

19 November 2020

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen on Tuesday warned his fellow magistrates that they could be sanctioned for leaking documents to The Manila Times.

Unimpeachable sources said Leonen was irked by the stories that came out in The Times on his draft reflections on the poll protest case filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

On Tuesday, he warned his fellow justices that leaking results of internal deliberations and draft rulings of the high court can be punished because it violates the confidentiality rule of the tribunal.

He cited the case of former associate justice Ruben Reyes who was sanctioned for leaking draft decisions in the case of Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong.

The sources said Leonen clashed with Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta when the latter told him to release his decision on petitions asking him to inhibit from the poll protest case.
Leonen, however, challenged Peralta.

“I thought the Peralta court is working as an institution,” the source quoted Leonen as saying.

On Tuesday, the high court ordered Times’ reporter Jomar Canlas to explain why he should not be cited for contempt for writing stories based on leaked documents.

The same order was issued to Solicitor General Jose Calida, who filed a petition asking Leonen, the ponente of the poll case, to recuse himself.

Marcos also filed a petition for inhibition but Leonen said he would not recuse himself.

Calida and Marcos cited the story written by Canlas in their petitions. They said the 25-page Draft Reflections of Leonen, which was circulated on July 10, 2017, showed that he prejudged the case. In his reflections, Leonen wanted to dismiss the poll protest for the alleged failure of Marcos to specify the acts of fraud, anomalies or irregularities committed in the precincts covered by the protest.

The camp of Robredo on Wednesday accused Calida, Marcos and Canlas of collusion.

In a pleading filed before the high court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Robredo, through her counsel Romulo Macalintal, asked the Supreme Court to investigate Calida and Canlas for their criticisms against Leonen.

The Manila Times tried to get a statement from Leonen but failed.