ONE of the top officials of the Liberal Party (LP) has defended Associate Justice Marvic Leonen over failure to file Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN) for 15 years by attacking the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) request to the Supreme Court to release the said public documents.
Senator Franklin Drilon, LP chairman, told a broadsheet that the OSG headed by Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida wants to have Leonen’s SALN “for purposes of preparing a quo warranto petition” to work on the justice removal from the Supreme Court.
Drilon maintained and asserted that Leonen and the latter’s fellow justices can only be removed by Congress through impeachment proceedings.
Drilon trained his guns on Calida without knowing the latest developments of OSG’s move on Leonen’s SALN.
Calida filed a motion for reconsideration on October 22 before the Supreme Court concerning Leonen’s SALN covering his stay at the University of the Philippines – College of Law from 1989 to 2010.
Calida asked the high court to also release other documents about the wealth of Leonen.
The 26-page motion was also signed by Calida’s assistants. Calida submitted the same to the Judicial Bar Council (JBC), the agency assigned by the law to recommend to the president who he would appoint to the highest court.
The second motion was made four days after the high court rejected on September 15 Calida’s request to release the SALN and other public documents about Leonen’s wealth.
In same motion for reconsideration, Calida admitted that the purpose of the SALN and other wealth–connected documents was to use them as bases to file quo warranto petition to the Supreme Court in order to boot out Leonen from the latter.
Calida’s legal arguments in getting the said public documents were the 1987 Constitution, Republic Act No. 6713 and a number of Supreme Court decisions about the release of the public document like the SALN.
As strongly pointed out in Sections 7 and 8 of the Constitution, Calida as a Filipino citizen has all the legal right to ask the Supreme Court about Leonen’s SALN and other related documents.
The high court strongly argued in their several past decisions that R.A. 6713 asserted that the holder of public documents has no authority, or power, not to release them to anyone who made a request.
The court also averred that same law directed the public documents holder that the regulations, or procedures, on the release of public documents did not authorize to hold the public documents.
Noticeably, Drilon’s attack on OSG took place several days after three showbiz people suddenly asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not to favor’s former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos II motion for a “third cause” in his electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.
Leonen became a magistrate after then President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III appointed him in the Supreme Court on November 29, 2012.
Aquino was also the head of LP at that time. Marcos camp pointed out that the LP-Yellow force is working double time in defense of AJ Leonen who is accused of the crime of violating the SALN Law at the expense of knowing the speedy decision on BBM’s case.
“The personalities coming out lately with political statements and making noise in support of Justice Leonen only strengthens the public doubts and perception of his true leaning and color.
The Liberal Party (LP) will be doing Justice Leonen a big favor if they just back off and let him be independent and free from any perceived bias and prejudice that has greatly affected the fair, speedy and just resolution of Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ election protest”, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, lawyer and spokesman of BBM, asserted.