Quo vadis, Leonen?

Quo vadis, Leonen?"Itís only a matter of choosing the less painful route."



The past continues to haunt Noynoy Aquino and his minions.

As the people now begin to realize the real culprit in the Lost Islands issue in the South China Sea, with all fingers now pointing to Aquino, former foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Senator Antonio Trillanes as the ones who allegedly forfeited our claim to the contested islands, lawyer Larry Gadon the other day came up with another bombshell against another Noynoy boy, SC Associate Justice Marivic Leonen.

Given the runaround for months by the Office of the Ombudsman and the SC itself on acquiring copies of Leonen’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth, Gadon finally got copies of Leonen’s SALN from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

And the copies and the certification issued by PCOO seem to confirm our suspicions as to why Leonen has been silent on the issue—he appears to be a perennial violator of the SALN Law.

For the 32 years he has been in service, a professor at the University of the Philippines from 1989 before becoming dean of the University’s College of Law, and eventually being appointed associate justice to the SC—by who else but Noynoy Aquino—Leonen appears to have filed his SALN only for six years.

Quite interestingly, it seems Leonen had this habit of filing his SALN in preparation for a higher post he is angling. He filed his SALN in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 when he was aspiring to become UP College of Law’s dean, which he got in 2008. And then  it appears he failed to file his SALN again.

He then again filed his SALN in 2010 and 2011 in an apparent preparation for his application to the SC where he was appointed in 2012. From there, no copies of his SALN can be found again.

So, what can we deduce from that? According to Gadon, it confirms Leonen failed to submit complete SALNs when he was teaching in UP. 

“In the following documents obtained through the FOI, it appears that AJ Marivic Leonen failed to submit several years of SALNs. His case is even worse than Atty. Lourdes Sereno’s,” says Gadon.

With such discovery, Gadon is calling on the House Committee on Justice to immediately set the hearing of the impeachment complaint against Leonen as soon as it is referred to the panel.

Gadon is the counsel for Edwin Cordevilla who filed the impeachment complaint against Leonen in December last year. It was however referred only to the Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco late March.

Romualdez has three session days starting May 16 to refer it to the Committee on Justice chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso.

Aside from the SALN issue, the impeachment complaint charged Leonen of violating the 1987 Constitution for allegedly sitting on at least 82 cases assigned to him for over two years.

According to Gadon. the complainant noted that Leonen has failed to dispose of 37 cases in the Supreme Court which is a “contravention of the Constitutional mandate that cases should be decided within 24 months from the time it is submitted for resolution.” 

“Clearly, respondent committed culpable violation of the constitution for arbitrarily, willfully, intentionally, deliberately and malevolently failing to resolve the cases within the required reglementary period,” the complaint read.

Apart from the SC cases, Leone allegedly sat on 34 election protest cases filed before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal that the magistrate heads.

Among the HRET cases cited was a quo warranto petition filed by former Rep. Eugene De Vera against Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, whom the former insists should be disqualified from running for a seat in Congress because she filed her candidacy a few months after she resigned as commissioner of the Philippine Competitions Commission as PCC officials are barred under the law to participate in the next succeeding election following their resignation or retirement from the agency.

But aside from the impeachment case, Gadon is exploring another route to have Leonen removed and that is through a quo warranto proceeding, the same process that invalidated Sereno’s appointment to the SC.

“A quo warranto case may be filed against AJ Marivic Leonen for failure to submit SALNs for several years when he was teaching in UP,” Gadon stressed. 

“If Atty Lourdes Sereno was removed from the Supreme Court on the ground of lack of integrity for failure to comply with the SALN law, then the same rule must apply to AJ Marivic Leonen,” he explains.

Ouch! It seems there is no way but out for Leonen. It’s only a matter of choosing the less painful route. In my opinion, they both hurt.

So, where to, Leonen?

Topics: South China Sea , Alberto Romulo , Antonio Carpio , SALN Law
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