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SC tells Calida: 'Peopleâs Tribune' status not to be 'hoisted wantonly' in private suits
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

SC tells Calida: 'People’s Tribune' status not to be 'hoisted wantonly' in private suits

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - January 21, 2021 - 5:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal warned Solicitor General Jose Calida of invoking its status as “People’s Tribunal” wantonly as with seeking inhibition of a justice in a case not involving the Republic of the Philippines.

Last November, Calida sought Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s inhibition from former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. Calida’s motion although bearing the same arguments and filed within hours of each other is supposedly not related to the earlier submitted a motion for inhibition by Marcos.

READ: Claiming bias, Marcos wants Leonen out of poll proceedings vs Robredo

The PET denied unanimously denied Marcos’ motion and issued a show cause order against the solicitor general and journalist Jomar Canlas, whose reports were cited in the pleadings.

In a resolution made public on Thursday, the tribunal opted to prioritize the resolution of the poll protest and the member-in-charge moved to deal with the OSG’s actions at a much later time.

While the show cause order was later withdrawn, the tribunal however said that Calida’s assertion that it filed the motion for inhibition as People’s Tribune should be reviewed as this is a status “not to be hoisted wantonly in big ticket cases involving private parties.”

It stressed that the OSG’s status as People’s Tribune is properly invoked only when the People of the Philippines are a party litigant to a case, but this was not the case in the poll protest.

The PET also said that if Calida had really been concerned on the supposed delay on the poll protest’s resolution, then he should have just limited his arguments on this issue as this was the only one relevant to the public.

A solicitor general shares a view ‘grossly ignorant of the law’

The PET also reiterated that it is a collegial body, and the member-in-charge of a case can only recommend actions to be taken.

Calida and Marcos both accused Leonen of exhibiting bias against the Marcos family supposedly seen in the justice’s dissenting opinions and votes.

The solicitor general also cited the ruling of SC’s Third Division in Chavez v Marcos, which Leonen penned. Calida said Leonen was “blinded by partiality” and “betrayed his oath to administer justice with competence and probity.”

But the tribunal pointed out that SC division had then only spoken through Leonen, thus his accusation of incompetence and lacking of probity extends to all justices in the Third Division.

It also said that while Calida and Marcos said Leonen was “grossly ignorant” when the tribunal sought comment from the Commission on Elections and the OSG on pending matters on the poll protest, the move was done by the PET as a collegial body.

“Lawyers for litigants at the highest level of our judicial system are expected to have a better knowledge of our workings. They do a disservice to our clients when they mislead them and the public that the SC is less than a collegial body,” the PET said.

It added: “That the protestant’s mistaken view of this court is joined by no less than the Solicitor General is deeply disturbing.”

The tribunal then cautioned parties, counsels and those acting on their behalf to “be more circumspect in their pleadings and in their public pronouncements.”

“All counsels including the Solicitor General are reminded to attend to their cases with objectivity and dignity demanded by our profession and keep their passions and excitement in check,” the PET added.

The decision was not attributed to a justice, but was written per curiam. Twelve justices signed it, with Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Amy Lazaro-Javier on wellness leave.

BONGBONG MARCOS JOSE CALIDA MARVIC LEONEN POLL PROTEST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SUPREME COURT
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 18, 2021 - 1:09pm

Romulo Macalintal, the lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo, challenges defeated candidate Bongbong Marcos to sign a memorandum to prove his claims of electoral fraud against Robredo.

February 18, 2021 - 1:09pm

An organization of Martial Law victims welcomes the junking of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, saying the rejection of claims of electoral fraud makes it "now clear that Marcos' baseless and malicious protest and accusations are mere tantrums of a brat who can't accept defeat." 

Danilo dela Fuente, spokesperson of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), says Robredo's election as vice president in the 2016 polls "is a strong rejection of their desperate attempts to wash off their bloody record of human rights violations and corruption during Martial Law."

Dela Fuente stresses though, that Marcos' defeat at the polls does not mean an end to the campaign to hold the Marcoses accountable.

"Justice is yet to be served. Imelda Marcos, despite being found guilty by the Sandiganbayan of amassing wealth from plundering the nation's coffers, is still free, while many elderly and sickly political prisoners are languishing behind bars due to trumped up cases," he says.

The former first lady is appealing seven counts of graft that the Sandiganbayan convicted her of in 2018. Marcos was found guilty of creating private foundations in Switzerland from 1978 to 1984 that allowed her family to funnel illegally amassed government funds during the Martial Law period. 

February 16, 2021 - 4:24pm

The camp of defeated vice presidential bet Bongbong Marcos insists that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has yet to decide on their third cause of action.

Marcos' third cause of action is the annulment of votes in Mindanao.

According to Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez, the tribunal only unanimously voted to dismiss their second cause of action, which is the manual recount and judicial revision.

February 16, 2021 - 12:12pm

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has unanimously dismissed the election protested of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo, according to a source. — report from News5

November 18, 2020 - 2:05pm

Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo ask the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to investigate for possible collusion between Solicitor General Jose Calida, 19 assistant solicitors general and defeated vice presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in "besmirching the reputation" of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

"Indeed, how does siding with one man serve the welfare of the people; and, why would he take up the position of the defeated candidate whose interest is to call into question and effectively disenfranchise the vote of the people of the Philippines?" Robredo's lawyers ask the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Noting "eerily similar" motions for inhibition of Leonen, Robredo's legal team accuses the OSG of lawyering for Marcos.

September 30, 2020 - 6:56pm

The Liberal Party, of which Vice President Leni Robredo is chair, says it hopes the Supreme Court will finally decide on former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos' election protest against her.

"VP Robredo defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes in the 2016 vice presidential elections. This lead further grew to 278,566 votes with an additional 15,093 votes from a recount that Mr. Marcos himself pushed for. Malinaw na panalo si VP Leni noong 2016. Malinaw na siya rin ang nagwagi sa recount. Wala nang dapat hintayin pa ang Korte Suprema. Wala nang dahilan para pahabain pa ang kasong ito," the minority party says.

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