Impeachment complainant seeks early hearing of case vs Leonen

Published May 6, 2021, 6:14 PM

by Ben Rosario

Lawyer Larry Gadon revealed on Thursday, May 6, that he has received evidence that would support the bid to remove Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen for committing the same offense that former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes has been accused of.

This developed as Gadon called 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 said that although they have gathered evidence that may warrant the filing of a quo warranto case against Leonen, his client, journalist Edwin Cordevilla, will continue to pursue the magistrate’s removal via impeachment.

A quo warranto on the basis of non-filing of SALN was the reason behind th SC decision to oust Sereno in 2018.

“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 Marvic Leonen,” Gadon stated.

Gadon acted as legal counsel for Cordevilla when the latter filed the impeachment complaint against Leonen for allegedly failing to act on numerous cases assigned him.

Personally received by House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza early December, 2020, the impeachment case was immediately referred to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

It was only late March, 2021 that Velasco decided to endorse the complaint to the Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

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

Endorsed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba, the impeachment complaint charged Leonen of violating the 1987 Constitution for allegedly sitting on dozens of cases assigned 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 requjired reglamentary period,” the complaint read.

Leonen, the third most senior in the current batch of SC magistrates, has the most number of pending cases among the incumbent SC justices at 82.

Also cited in the complaint were cases filed before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal which the magistrate chaired.

According to Gadon the complaint also cited Leonen’s inability to speed up re resolution of 34 election protest cases filed before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal that the magistrate chairs.

Among the HRET cases cited was a quo warranto petition filed by former Rep. Eugene De Vera against Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo.

De Vera has reportedly rested his case and had asked the HRET to make a ruling on his claim that Quimbo was 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.

PCC officials are barred under the law to participate in the next succeeding election following their resignation or retirement from the agency.

The case remained pending notwithstanding De Vera’s appeal for an early resolution.