Robredo lawyers to question Calida's role in seeking Leonen inhibition from poll protest
In this file photo taken July 2, 2019, Solicitor General Jose Calida talks to reporters before the oral arguments on the plea for Writ of Kalikasan over some parts of the West Philippine Sea.
Philstar.com/Kristine Joy Patag

Robredo lawyers to question Calida's role in seeking Leonen inhibition from poll protest

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 10, 2020 - 11:26am

MANILA, Philippines — The legal team of Vice President Leni Robredo will question Solicitor General Jose Calida’s role in pushing for the inhibition of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest.

Speaking on CNN Philippines’ "The Source" on Tuesday, lawyer Emil Marañon said they will file a pleading to question Calida’s participation in the case, which he pointed out, is a private suit.

"We find it not only very abnormal but very suspicious, the solicitor general’s action. We will raise points not just to question the standing of OSG in aiding a private litigant like Mr. Marcos. Also we’ll question the merit of the very motion to inhibit filed by the OSG," he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Calida on Monday filed his own motion to inhibit Leonen in the poll protest just hours after Marcos submitted his own pleading. The two motions — unrelated, according to Marcos — raised similar arguments.

According to the office's mandate, the solicitor general "is the principal law officer and legal defender of the Government" and is to "represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party."

The same mandate gives the solicitor the power "to represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require."

The separate motions

Marcos accused Leonen, reportedly member-in-charge of the case, of supposedly manifesting partiality in favor of Robredo. He said the justice of being “biased... partisan... and prejudiced” on the case.

Calida meanwhile invoked his office’s mandate as “tribune of the people,” and likewise said Leonen’s “inaction” and his “expressed disdain” of the Marcoses compelled him to move for his inhibition.

Calida also cited the same when he defended taking a stance on the vote-shading threshold markedly different from the one held by the Commission on Elections and in favor of Marcos.

RELATED: Marcos distances self from moves by Calida, Gadon to oust Leonen

Marcos: Maybe Calida adopted parts of our motion

Prior to Calida’s filing, Marcos said in a press conference that he has not been in any discussions with the solicitor general, especially not about the electoral protest..

Asked about the apparent similarity in arguments and even wording in the two unrelated motions, Marcos said Calida “clearly already had an intention to file” and “maybe... adopted some of the elements that were in our motion.”

He reiterated that he has not communicated in the OSG, but he is certain that Calida’s office is “perfectly capable of acquiring a copy” of their motion filed just hours earlier.

“I’m sure he was able to read our motion before he filed his own motion. So again you will have to ask the [solicitor general] how that came about,” Marcos added in the same interview with Marañon.

But Robredo’s lawyer said it is “physically impossible” for Calida to read the Marcos motion, write a separate pleading and have more than 19 assistant solicitor generals sign it before filing it at the SC.

Marañon also noted that Marcos supposedly admitted that he knew that Calida’s moves. "Our point is the apparent collusion as admitted by Mr. Marcos earlier on is the very apparent on the action of the solgen because he’s coming in as tribune of the people."

He continued: “Our question is why is he siding with who lost, who was rejected by the people and not with the winner if he is truly the tribune of the people?”

"Our question is maybe he is tribune of Mr. Marcos," Marañon added.

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