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The Manila Times - Leonen threatens to charge Calida

News & Interviews
23 November 2020

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen threatened to sue Solicitor General Jose Calida for graft for seeking the former’s inhibition in the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos.

According to a well-placed source in the high court, Leonen was incensed at Calida for siding with Marcos and dragging the Republic of the Philippines into the case.

Marcos filed the protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, after losing the 2016 vice presidential election to Maria Leonor Robredo.

The source said Leonen is pushing for the issuance of a show cause order against Calida and The Manila Times.

Calida had quoted extensively from The Times story on Leonen’s 2017 Draft Reflections, where he recommended dismissing the protest of Marcos outright.

The court insider showed The Times portions of the 30-page draft resolution Leonen wrote last November 17, which dressed down Calida for siding with Marcos.

“Here, the Republic of the Philippines is not a party litigant. Protestant filed this election protest in his bid to oust the elected vice president. In his elementary terms, this involves private individuals only. However, solicitor general comes to this tribunal without the proper standing, dragging with him the Republic of the Philippines,” Leonen said.

He insisted that Calida did not promote the interest of the government in filing the motion to intervene without permission or leave of court.

“Nothing from the four corners of the solicitor general’s pleading intimate this. The solicitor general failed to show how he is promoting and protecting the public weal and ultimately upholding the government’s interest in intervening in this case without so much as a leave,” Leonen wrote.

He admonished Calida for his lack of respect to the tribunal by casting baseless imputations to his name and attacking his impartiality and incompetence.

“If indeed the solicitor general was genuinely concerned about the protracted resolution of the protest and its effect on the people who deserves nothing less, then he should have confined the issue to the supposed delay in the resolution of the protest, as this was the only matter of relevance to the public. However, the solicitor general went to town with malicious and baseless imputations of impartiality and incompetence not only against a sitting member of this tribunal, but also the entire tribunal, thereby showing an undeniable bias for protestant and lack of respect to this tribunal,” Leonen wrote.

He threatened to charge Calida with graft, citing his “manifest partiality” to Marcos.

Ironically, it was Leonen himself who dragged the Office of the Solicitor General into the case by asking it to comment on the Marcos protest case.

Leonen also bore down on The Times for publishing the “Leonen Reflections” on October 12 and 13. He said the contents of the reflections were confidential.