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The Manila Times - SC waits for Leonen’s draft ruling on Marcos poll protest

News & Interviews
7 January 2021

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen has promised to issue a ruling this month on the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

Well-placed sources told The Manila Times that Leonen assured the justices in December that he will circulate a resolution early in January.

The case was filed before the high court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, in October 2016. It had been with Leonen since October 2019.

The case was included in the high court agenda on Jan. 5, 2021 but no action was taken because Leonen failed to release his promised draft ruling.

Several justices were irked by Leonen’s “mishandling” of the case, which he sat on for more than a year.

“Leonen is obviously dribbling the election protest until it runs out of time and the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy by October will come and the case will become moot and academic,” one magistrate told The Times.

“Antayin natin ang ilalabas niyang draft as he promised by early January of 2021. Pero hindi na kami papayag na upuan niya pa iyan (Let’s wait for him to issue his draft ruling.

But we will not allow him to further delay the case),” another justice said.

A third magistrate said fairness dictates that Leonen should release the ruling, regardless of who favors from it.

“To be fair the ruling must be released soon because next year will be an election year. Kung sino man ang nanalo dapat ilabas agad ni Marvic iyan (no matter who wins, Mavic should issue a ruling),” he pointed out.

Leonen earlier wanted The Manila Times and Solicitor General Jose Calida to explain why they should not be cited for contempt. However, he withdrew the resolution on the issue.
He was furious because of the stories broke by The Times in connection with the electoral protest.

The Times exposed the 25-page Draft Reflections of Leonen circulated on July 10, 2017, years before he was assigned as ponente of the poll protest case. Leonen wanted the case dismissed for Marcos’ failure to specify the acts of fraud, anomalies or irregularities committed in the precincts covered by the protest.

The Marcos camp fears that due to time constraints, the case would become moot if Leonen delays action further.

In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts.

Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes. He accused her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” through preshading of ballots, preloaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines or VCMs, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes in the vice-presidential race.