Robredo lawyers ask SC to look into possible Calida, Marcos collusion
This composite photo shows former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Vice President Leni Robredo and Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Composite from Philstar.com file photos

Robredo lawyers ask SC to look into possible Calida, Marcos collusion

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - November 18, 2020 - 12:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The legal team of Vice President Leni Robredo asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to look into the possible collusion between Solicitor General Jose Calida and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who both moved, in “eerily similar” but unrelated motions, to inhibit Associate Justice Marvic Leonen in the poll protest.

In a 31-page Urgent Omnibus Motion obtained by Philstar.com, Robredo’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court sitting as PET to conduct an immediate investigation into the possible collusion between Marcos, Calida, 19 other assistant solicitor generals and Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas “in besmirching the reputation of the Member-in-Charge.”

The pleading was filed on Tuesday, the same day that the PET unanimously junked Calida’s and Marcos’ two separate motions to keep Leonen out of the poll protest proceedings.

READ: SC rejects Marcos move to keep Leonen out of poll protest, tells Calida to explain self

The justices also ordered Calida and Canlas, whose report was quoted heavily in the motions, to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt.

The SC has yet to release a copy of the full resolution of the justices. It is unclear whether Robredo’s call for an immediate investigation into the supposed “collusion” was tackled during Tuesday’s en banc session.

‘Eerily similar’ motions

Calida filed his separate motion for inhibition mere hours after Marcos filed his. Robredo’s lawyers said the two separate and unrelated motions are “eerily similar.”

The OSG’s motion raised almost the similar arguments with the one filed by Marcos. The former senator said he has not been in contact with Calida, who campaigned for him in 2016, on the case but surmised that, as solicitor general, he is "perfectly capable" of obtaining a copy of their pleading.

In an interview last week, Marcos said Calida “maybe... adopted some of the elements that were in our motion.”

"Given his vocal and well-known support for protestant Marcos, then it is not the most prudent course of action for Solicitor General Calida to ask any relief from the Honorable Tribunal in the above-captioned Electrion Protest," they also said.

“The timing and synchronicity of the actions of the OSG and protestant Marcos are too perfect to be accidental.” 

They also noted that the two motions relied on Canlas’ two-part report on Leonen’s alleged 25-page Reflections, an essay that the justice allegedly shared with other members of the court.

“Like on opera in perfect harmony, Mr. Jomar Canlas, OSG and protestant has achieved to discredit the Member-in-Charge based largely on an alleged 25-page Reflections,” they said.

The lawyers also said that the release of the articles was “perfectly timed to create the situation of seeking the inhibition of the Member-in-Charge.”

'People's Tribune' siding with one man?

Calida moved for Leonen’s inhibition from the case citing his office’s mandate as “People’s Tribune,” but Robredo’s legal team asked: how does “siding with one man serve the welfare of the people”?

They also said that the OSG can only act as the People’s Tribune when the suit involves the government of the Philippines and its agencies and officials, when it takes a position contrary to the said government body or when the state has direct interest in the outcome of the suit and the office is taking an adverse position to uphold state interest.

But in the poll protest case, the government or any of its agencies and instrumentalities is not a party, the motion read.

“Further, an election protest—while it involves public interest—remains to be a private suit involving a proclaimed elective official and a losing candidate,” it added.

'Bias and partiality’ personal to Marcos

The lawyers also said only Marcos can raise the issue of supposed bias and partiality of Leonen as it is something personal to him. “The State, through OSG, has no obligation to assuage the insecurities, impatience or hurt feelings of Marcos,” they said.

They added that the personal feelings of protestant Marcos are not the concern of the Republic or of the people, and are best conveyed through his battery of private lawyers.

“Protestant Marcos is already represented by one of the known election lawyers of high caliber. He does not need to be lullabied and spoiled further by [Calida] and a buildingful of tax-paid state solicitors,” they said.

“Thus, the Motion to Inhibit should be treated as a mere scrap of paper, for being filed by someone who is not a party or has any legal standing in the above-captioned Election Protest,” they said.

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