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OSG to Leonen: ‘Inhibit now’

Solicitor General Jose Calida
Solicitor General Jose Calida

– Acting as “Tribune of the People”, Calida backs Marcos move

THE Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed an “omnibus motion” before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) asking for the immediate inhibition of Associate Marvic Leonen from further handling former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’ electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo for being a ‘consistent’ opponent of the whole Marcos family and friends.

The OSG, headed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, said it’s “Omnibus Motion” stood and acted as “Tribune of the People”.

Calida said the work, duty and obligation of OSG as Tribune of the People has been recognized, accepted and established by the Supreme Court itself through its decision in Gonzales v. Hon. Chavez case issued in 1992.

Calida said OSG’s motion was made for the “best interest of the State and the People” to find out the truth about Marcos’ assertions that he lost in the vice – presidential elections in 2016 due to the supposed rampant election fraud in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao provinces.

Calida established in OSG’s motion that the “People deserves nothing less but the speedy resolution of the instant election protest because not only does it involve genuine public interest, the people must not be deprived of their right to know who is their real choice” of who would their vice president.

In effect, it debunks Robredo’s claims that Calida is using OSG for Marcos’ electoral protest. Marcos filed his electoral protest on June 29,2016, less than a month after the national and local elections.

In its 35-page motion, Calida questioned the extreme delay of the PET’s Resolution. He averred that: “Delay is justice denied, especially in an election protest. The long delay in the resolution thereof is anathema to democracy as it disregards the sanctity of votes and the popular choice of the people”.

“The People needs to know who the actual winner is in the vice-presidential race. It is unfair for the sitting Vice President to be accused of cheating, and equally unfair for the protestant to give him false hope in the guise of calculated yet very slow progress of the protest”, he further explained.

“Certainly, suffrage is the heart of democracy. In order to protect such primordial interest, the Tribunal must ensure the impartiality of the ponente of the instant protest. The people deserves (sic) nothing less”, he asserted.

Calida reminded the PET about the Batas Pambansa Blg. 884 (BP 884) which directed the PET, or the “Tribunal”, to decide the election protest in one-year period after its filing.

Based on this, the PET should have already issued its judgement on June 29,2017 on Marcos protest that includes the “annulment of votes” in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

Marcos single relief was the annulment of votes and not the “failure of elections,” the former lawmaker himself asserted it in a virtual press conference on Monday.

Marcos lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said that the former senator never asked the PET to declare a failure of elections on the three Mindanao provinces.

Rodriguez pointed out that failure of elections was not a correct legal remedy since Robredo was already proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Calida said if Republic Act No. 1793 would be used, still the PET Resolution is extremely delayed since this law instructed the PET to issue it decision and declare the real winner in the election 20 months after the filing of the electoral protest.

“The OSG finally realized that the truth about the real winner in the vice – presidential fight between Marcos and Robredo as soon as possible will never happen if Leonen remains the officer-in-charge of the protest. Thus, it filed a omnibus motion before the PET urging the latter to boot out Leonen from Marcos electoral protest and reraffle the case to another magistrate, “ the motion read.

Calida enumerated all the bases for which Leonen is expected to dismiss Marcos call on the annulment of votes in the three Mindanao provinces.

He asserted that Leonen was consistent for being an anti-Marcos as clearly revealed in all his decisions since he was appointed by then President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III on November 29, 2012.

Calida said in the case of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos burial to the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Leonen strongly opposed the majority decision of his fellow magistrates by bringing up the litany of a accusations hurled against the late head of the country.

In doing so, Leonen placed all other members of Marcos family and friends as one group of public enemies, instead of zeroing on the legal bases of Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Calida said.

Leonen also revitalized a very old case against former First Lady Imelda Marcos to find out the correctness of the court’s decision.

Calida asserted that PET must have a potente on the case who is not biased and impartial to protect the integrity of the decision and the PET as an institution.

Meanwhile, the PET warned the parties “in PET Case No. 005 (Marcos Jr. v Robredo) to strictly observe the sub judice rule in pursuant to earlier resolutions.”

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Hector Lawas
Court reporter for more than 20 years