‘Sino ang makikinabang?’: Hontiveros slams impeachment complaint vs Leonen
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday criticized the impeachment complaint launched against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen by a controversial lawyer, calling it “unnecessary and counterproductive.”
“This is a distraction that will only drag lawmakers and the public into a pointless political fiasco at a time when government’s efforts should be focused on helping Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s battered economy,” Hontiveros said.
“Kailangan din siguro natin tanungin: Sino ba ang lubos na makikinabang sa paggulong ng impeachment complaint na ito? (Maybe we also need to ask: Who will benefit the most from this impeachment complaint?) Surely, not the Filipino people,” she added.
The complaint in question was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon at the House of Representatives on Monday morning and, according to a report from The STAR, was endorsed by Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba (Ilocos Norte), newphew to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Leonen is accused in the complaint of violating the Constitution for supposedly failing to dispose of 37 cases pending before his chambers within two years. He is also accused by Gadon of partiality and “almost always [taking] sides against the current administration.”
This is the second impeachment complained launched by Gadon against a member of the high court. The subject of the first complaint, former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, was eventually booted out from the SC through a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Gadon also said Leonen committed a betrayal of public trust for supposedly failing to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth—the same ground used to oust Sereno from the SC.
Calida and Gadon both sought and were denied copies of Leonen’s SALNs for the purpose of preparing a quo warranto petition.
Leonen last month also faced a motion by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — Rep. Barba’s cousin — to inhibit from the poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos — and the Office of the Solicitor General in a separate and unrelated petition — said Leonen had shown bias against the Marcos family in his dissenting opinion on the burial of the remains of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Congress urged to put the Filipino people first
“With all due respect to our colleagues in the House of Representatives, I would like to put the spotlight back on the thousands of Filipinos who are bedridden or have lost their loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who have lost their homes due to the recent typhoons, and those who have lost their livelihood amid the economic crisis,” Hontiveros said.
“Unahin natin ang tunay na pangangailangan ng taumbayan. (Let’s put the true needs of the people first),” she added.
As of this writing, more than 442,000 Filipinos have contracted novel coronavirus while 8,670 have died. It has been 268 days since the country was first placed under lockdown and Filipinos will spend the holiday season while still under the longest community quarantine in the world.
Gadon melts down over questions about Marcos links
Gadon on Tuesday vehemently denied that the Marcos family was involved in his impeachment complaint against Leonen.
“Bongbong Marcos has nothing to do with this, whatever I do is my own decision,” he said in an interview with ANC’s “Matters of Fact.” Immediately after, he criticized Leonen for supposedly delaying Marcos’ poll protest.
He also defended his support of the late dictator, asking with a raised voice: “Why is it that being a supportor of Marcos is bad? And being a supporter of Aquino is good? Why are we teaching this to the public?”
He further hit the media for “labelling Marcos loyalists as bad supporters.”
Lawyer Chel Diokno, the founding dean of De La Salle University’s College of Law, on Monday, however, asserted that these recent moves by Gadon were being orchestrated by the Marcos family.
“Unsuccessful in the quo warranto and motion to inhibit, now it will be forced through an impeachment. Looks like the Marcoses are trying all their tactics on AJ Leonen. Those with power have changed — using the flexibility of the law and our institutions for their own benefit. Let’s not allow that,” he said on Twitter in English and Filipino.
— with reports from Kristine Joy Patag