Beef is not about Leonen’s ‘ill-gotten wealth’ | Inquirer Opinion

Beef is not about Leonen’s ‘ill-gotten wealth’

/ 05:01 AM December 16, 2020

Allow us our own takeaway regarding the column of former chief justice Artemio Panganiban (“Conundrums in attempts to oust Leonen,” 12/13/20).

The Supreme Court is not the source from which Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) can be obtained for the purpose Solicitor General Jose Calida and lawyer Larry Gadon had in mind. They were barking up the wrong tree. Their beef was not about Leonen’s “ill-gotten wealth” amassed during his stint at the high court—which, unlike the case of the late chief justice Renato Corona, could only end up with them wondering, “Why the unexplained poverty?!” It was about his qualification to sit as justice in that court. They both need him to be ousted to speed up the resolution in Bongbong Marcos’s favor of the electoral protest filed by the latter against Vice President Leni Robredo.

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Calida’s short-cut attempt to “quo warranto” Leonen could only be based on the latter’s failure to submit all the SALNs required to qualify for his appointment to the Court. Those SALNs were NOT yet in the Court’s records. As law professor then at the University of the Philippines College of Law, copies of his SALNs (if he did file any) could be obtained there. And at the time he applied for the Supreme Court, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) should have had his SALNs. How hard was it for Calida, with the power of a presidential bark, to secure official certifications pronto from both government institutions? In fact, former chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno was simply “certificated” by the JBC and was found wanting in her submission of SALNs. The rest is precedent-setting history.

Gadon’s legendary recklessness can be forgiven. That’s just the way he practices law. He is nothing but a publicity hound. He brings to mind the late Oliver Lozano, a dyed-in-the-wool Marcos loyalist, who never ceased to insult everyone’s intelligence. But for a public official deriving millions in monthly salaries, perks, allowances, incentives, bonuses, etc., from taxpayer money, Calida, albeit an unabashed Marcos loyalist himself, is expected to do more thinking than just shooting from the hip.

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Arnulfo Magistrado,[email protected]

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TAGS: Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Justice Leonen, SALN
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