LOSING vice presidential candidate Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and the Office of the Solicitor General have asked Associate Justice Mario Victor F. Leonen to inhibit himself from his election protest, citing bias.
In a 21-page motion, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos asked the high tribunal to re-raffle the case to another justice.
Mr. Leonen, an appointee of ex-President Benigno S.C. Aquino III and who presides over the case, “displayed palpable bias and partiality against the entire Marcos family,” he said, citing the justice’s dissenting opinion on his father’s burial case.
“Given the fact that the Supreme Court is a collegial body, it would be unfair and unjust for the other members of this esteemed tribunal to be tainted by the apparent impropriety of Associate Justice Leonen,” Mr. Marcos said.
The court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, resolves election cases involving the President and vice president.
Mr. Marcos accused the magistrate of trying to delay the case by ordering the Commission on Elections and Solicitor General to comment on the tribunal’s authority to annual an election result or order special polls.
“We have to do something because it’s very clear that Justice Leonen has prejudged this case, is hostile to me and to my family,” Mr. Marcos told an online news briefing on Monday. “If Justice Leonen continues to sit as the justice in charge, for sure, it will be delayed.”
Lawyers of Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo criticized the plea. “While we’re all for the dismissal of the case, it is unfortunate that Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. again resorts to attacking a Supreme Court magistrate,” lawyers Beng Sardillo and Emil Marañon said in a statement.
They said the Mr. Marcos’s motion is another “mind-conditioning game” meant to attack the integrity of an institution “to force them to give in to his desires.”
“May we remind Mr. Marcos that it’s already 2020,” the lawyers said. “This is no longer the period of his father’s reign of terror where they can do anything they want. Stop acting like a spoiled brat who cries when he doesn’t get his candy.”
In a separate motion, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said Mr. Leonen inaction for 11 months proves his partiality against Mr. Marcos, citing his “expressed disdain” toward the Marcos family.
Mr. Marcos filed the protest in June 2016 after narrowly losing to Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, claiming there was fraud.
A resolution released in October last year showed that Ms. Robredo’s lead against Mr. Marcos in the pilot provinces of Camariñes Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental rose by about 15,000 votes after the initial recount. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza