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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Leonen faces impeachment rap before House

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An impeachment complaint was filed Monday against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen at the House of Representatives for alleged “betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.”

Leonen faces impeachment rap before House
COMPLAINT FILED. Lawyer Larry Gadon shows a copy of the impeachment complaint filed by his client, FLAGG Secretary General Edwin Cordevilla, against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen (inset) at the House of Representatives during a press conference in Quezon City on Monday. Manny Palmero

Edwin Cordevilla, secretary general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government (FLAGG), filed the complaint at the office of the House Secretary General, with Larry Gadon as the group's legal counsel.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, a cousin of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., endorsed the complaint.

Marcos has been trying without success to have Leonen removed as justice in charge of his electoral complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo, who beat him in the 2016 elections, but Barba did not refer to that case.

“Mang Ed Cordevilla came to me and as a constituent in my district, I entertained him, I heard his complaint and I believed in it. That's why I'm here as his congressman. I accompanied them, and that's it," Barba said.

Leonen said the complaint involved “false issues raised by some for clearly personal and vindictive reasons.”

Leonen said his office has received information that an impeachment complaint was filed before the House of Representatives, but said he has not received a copy of it.

“Given the urgent and pressing needs of our people during this time of crises, we are confident that our leaders will do the right thing. Certainly, this may not be to attend to false issues raised by some for clearly personal or vindictive reasons,” Leonen said in a statement.

Gadon on Monday dismissed speculations that the Marcoses were behind the filing of the impeachment complaint.

At a Quezon City media briefing, Gadon said he and ex-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have not talked about the planned impeachment complaint.

He said the senator, a defeated vice presidential candidate in 2016, even before prevented him from pursuing the quo warranto petition against Leonen.

Malacanang on Monday denied any involvement in the impeachment case.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the President was not aware of the impeachment complaint, which was not endorsed by Duterte.

“We don’t even know who the proponents are,” Roque said.

Cordevilla alleged that Leonen betrayed public trust over his failure to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) during his tenure at the University of the Philippines.

In his complaint citing a "published article" as basis, Cordevilla claimed that Leonen spent 22 years in UP — from 1989 until 2011 and yet only filed his SALNs for the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011.

The "respondent completely ignored the law" on the filing of SALN when he refused to have it filed for 15 years, Cordevilla said. He also alleged that Leonen failed to meet the requirements set by the Judicial and Bar Council when he "failed to file his SALN for four years," from 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009.

"Since respondent failed to file his SALN for 15 years, it would be difficult for the investigating authorities to pin him down in the event that a corruption case is filed against him," the complaint read.

"If respondent wakes up one day and decides to build a castle for his retirement home, it would be next to impossible to examine his assets and net worth since these were never filed for 15 whole years," it added.

Cordevilla's complaint also denounced Leonen's alleged "track record of gross inefficiency as shown by the snail pace in which he resolves his cases casts doubts on his competency. No other sitting Justice has ever displayed the same inefficiency and incompetence."

Cordevilla cited Leonen's alleged failure to dispose of at least 37 cases within 24 months as prescribed under Section 16, Article III of the Constitution which mandates the speedy disposition of cases, noting that the SC Associate Justice violated the Constitution for "arbitrarily, willfully, intentionally, [and] deliberately" delaying the resolution of cases pending before him as chairperson of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

"Since the resolution of election controversies are a vital factor in our democracy, it is incumbent upon the chairperson to ensure that pending election cases before the HRET are timely resolved since clearly, these cases are imbued with public interest and are time sensitive," the complaint read.

“By failing to act on the cases pending before him both in the Supreme Court and the HRET, respondent has clearly betrayed public trust. His incompetence and inefficiency, has caused the erosion of the public’s faith in our judicial system," it added.


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