LAWYER Larry Gadon on Sunday said a possible impeachment complaint against Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is still an option over the latter’s alleged non-filing of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for several years.
But out of practicality, Gadon admitted that it would be appropriate if Solicitor General Jose Calida will act favorably on his letter-request urging the official to file a quo warranto petition seeking the removal of Leonen from his post.
“Impeachment will be an option. I will assess that move upon receipt of the certified copies of the SALNs as it may be more practical and appropriate for the Solicitor General to file a quo warranto petition,” said Gadon.
Citing as a precedent the case of then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Gadon on Saturday said he expects the SC to act this Tuesday, at the earliest, on his request to make public Leonen’s SALNs.
Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 of 1989 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees requires all state officials and employees to file their yearly SALNs.
Manila Times columnist Rigoberto “Bobi” D. Tiglao alleged in his column that Leonen had failed to submit his SALN for 15 years — supposedly from the time the SC official joined the University of the Philippines (UP) faculty from 1989 to 2003 and for the years 2008 to 2009.”
Leonen was a professor at the University of the Philippines’ College of Law and chairman of the government peace panel before he became a member of the Higher Court in November 2012.
Last Wednesday, the SC received Gadon’s letter-request dated September 7 asking the High Tribunal to disclose to public Leonen’s SALNs from 1990 to 2011.
Gadon recalled that his request was not new, explaining there was a precedent when his similar letter asking for the SALNs of Sereno was granted by the SC on August 15, 2017.
Later, Gadon said he used the documents in filing an impeachment complaint against Sereno on August 31, 2017.
Gadon recalled it was Calida’s petition for quo warranto over Sereno’s non-filing of her SALNs for six yesrs that voided her appointment as Chief Justice.
In his column, Tiglao alleged “the Central Records Division of the Office of the Ombudsman reported that they have on file only Leonen’s SALNs for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. The Civil Service Commission’s Resolution 1500088 of 2015 ordered all state universities (and several other state entities) to turn over all the SALNs submitted to it to the ombudsman.”
He said it was the Office of the Ombudsman’s response to his freedom of information request under Executive Order (EO) No. 2 of 2016 that he had filed.
“I wrote a letter August 24 to Leonen, coursed through Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, which asked him if indeed he failed to file his SALNs for these 15 years. Marquez confirmed Leonen’s receipt of my letter,” Tiglao said.
“Leonen didn’t reply to me. It was instead the Supreme Court’s Chief of Public Information Brian Hosaka, after acknowledging receipt by Leonen of my letter, who replied as follows: Due to their constitutional functions which require strict independence and impartiality on all matters brought before them, not all members of the judiciary may be obliged to personally assist or advise you on your research regardless if it may lead to praise or criticism of their person or work, or the person or work of another judge or justice. Personal information about judges and justices are either privileged or are covered by specific processes provided for by the constitution, laws or court resolutions,” said Tigao.