The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo stressed that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) “has no legal standing” in the election protest filed by defeated vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The OSG is headed by Jose Calida, who, along with Marcos, asked Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit himself for alleged bias with regard to the Marcos v. Robredo electoral protest case being heard in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which is composed of Supreme Court (SC) justices.
Leonen is the justice-in-charge of Marcos’ election protest.
Voting “unanimously,” the SC already junked motions seeking Leonen’s inhibition on Tuesday, the same day that Robredo filed her 31-page comment on the matter before the PET.
Robredo’s legal counsel said the OSG cannot simply use “People’s Tribune” as a ground for its participation because it has to meet several requirements based on the previous decisions by the High Court.
“None of these circumstances are present to justify the intervention of OSG as the ‘Tribune of the People’,” Robredo’s lead lawyer Romulo Macalintal said, adding that the OSG itself admitted these requirements in its Motion for Inhibition.
The requirements are as follows: first, the suit should involve the government, its agencies, instrumentalities, officials, and agents; second, the OSG should take a position that is contrary to the government agency that it’s supposed to represent; and lastly, “the state should have a direct interest on the outcome of the suit and the Solicitor General is taking an adverse position to uphold that direct state interest.”
None of these are true as Calida even abandoned the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) as a client in 2018 to side with Marcos, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“After having abandoned its own client, OSG cannot, by its own whim, come once more to the Honorable Tribunal under the pretext of being the People’s Tribune,” it said.
On its decision, the PET also issued a show-cause order against Calida and The Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas, asking the two parties to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.
Canlas’ report on Leonen’s prejudice against Marcos was cited on both Calida’s and Marcos’ motion.
The PET should treat the motion as a “mere scrap of paper,” Robredo’s lawyers said, adding that the court should expunge and “outrightly deny” the motion as it is filed by someone “who has [no] legal standing in the election protest.”
They also prayed that the PET conduct an investigation on the OSG and the cited articles written by Canlas.