The Manila Times - Leonen to reactivate poll case in January

News & Interviews
15 December 2020

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

SUPREME Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen will revive the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in January 2021.

A highly reliable source in the high court told The Manila Times that after almost one year of sitting on the case, Leonen would release a new resolution that will get it moving again.

The last time Leonen acted on the case was last September 30, when he solicited the comments of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The source said Leonen had assured the court, which is reviewing the case as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), that he might finally issue a ruling after almost four months.

Since he was assigned to the case on Oct. 29, 2019, Leonen has issued only two resolutions. One directed Marcos and Vice President Ma Leonor Robredo for their comments and the other a similar order to the OSG and Comelec.

Marcos filed the protest before the tribunal after losing the vice presidential election to Robredo in 2016.

The court insider told The Times that Leonen could either order the creation of a panel of Comelec commissioners to review the poll returns as asked by Marcos, or dismiss the case outright as prayed by Robredo.

The source had earlier provided The Times with Leonen’s reflections on the case that show that the justice wanted to reject the protest outright because it did not specify the acts of fraud, anomalies, or irregularities committed in the polling precincts cited by Marcos.

“Entertaining Marcos’ plea for relief, when he himself is unsure of his bases will be condoning Marcos’ exploitation of the state resources for his own fishing expedition,” the source said, quoting Leonen’s reflections.

Marcos and Solicitor General Jose Calida called for Leonen to inhibit following the exposure of the document. He refused and threatened Calida and The Manila Times with contempt.

The case has been with the PET for nearly four years. Marcos filed his protest on June 29, 2016, calling for the annulment of the results from about 40,000 clustered precincts in Mindanao.

Marcos, who lost by 263,473 votes, accused Robredo of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities.”