SC rejects Marcos move to keep Leonen out of poll protest, tells Calida to explain self
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) – November 17, 2020 – 3:09pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to explain he should not be cited in contempt as it junked his and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s motions for Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit from the vice presidential poll protest.
The Supreme Court Public Information Office said Tuesday that the SC, sitting as PET, tribunal voted unanimously to deny the Motions to Inhibit separately by Marcos and Calida.
The PET also issued a show-cause order to Calida over his motion to inhibit Leonen from the case.
Marcos, in his motion, accused Leonen of manifesting partiality to Vice President Leni Robredo in the poll proceedings. Calida, just hours later, filed a separate motion bearing almost the same arguments as Marcos’.
Calida said he was filing the motion to inhibit as part of his mandate of being “tribune of the people,” the same reason he used when he took a stand favoring Marcos in the voting shade threshold issue.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he supposed Calida’s motion “had to filed” because of people’s interest on who won the vice presidential elections.
The PET also issued a show cause order to Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas, who wrote a two-part report on the supposed “reflections” of Leonen on the poll protest case early in the case deliberations.
Calida’s and Marcos’ two unrelated motions to inhibit filed on the same day quoted from Canlas’ report.
A copy of the PET resolution has yet to be made public. The SC PIO said this will be uploaded on its website once available.
The tribunal is deliberating issues on the third cause of action in Marcos’ poll protest, which is the annulment of elections in three Mindanao provinces due to alleged terrorism and vote-buying.
The OSG and the Commissions on Elections had already submitted their separate comments on the issues that involve votes from Maguindanao, Basilan and Lanao del Sur.
While the OSG and Comelec both said the PET can declare annulment of elections, Calida went on to say in his separate comment: “In the case at bar, it is undubitable that even if the votes cast in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan are declared null and void, there is no failure to elect to speak of. On the contrary, the ultimate winner, or the one with the majority (or plurality) of the valid votes cast, is easily determinable.”
Nullifying the votes in the three provinces will wipe out Robredo’s narrow lead over Marcos.