Leonen impeach case starts rolling

The House of Representatives has set the wheels of the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen in motion.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco sent a letter last March 25 to Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez asking that the impeachment complaint be included in the chamber’s order of business.

Velasco endorsed the copies of the complaint which was filed last year by journalist Edwin Cordevilla.

Leonen is being charged with betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

The complaint alleges that the magistrate did not file his Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth while he was teaching at the University of the Philippines, and had lobbied for the renovation of a cottage at the Supreme Court compound in Baguio City that was assigned to him at a cost of P5 million.

The complaint drew extensively from several articles published by The Manila Times that detailed Leonen’s misdeeds.

In filing the complaint, Cordevilla was represented by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba was among the first to endorse the complaint, saying Cordevilla, his constituent, sought his help in bringing the charges against Leonen.

Cordevilla lauded the House for finally taking up the case.

“We welcome this news and are optimistic that our duly elected representatives in Congress will do their sworn duty to review and vote on the merits of our complaint against Associate Justice Marvic Leonen,” he said in a statement.

“We trust that given the precedent set forth in similar past rulings regarding our Supreme Court Justices for far lesser offences that justice will prevail,” he continued.

If the House finds the case has merit, “let this serve as warning to those in the Judiciary that as the one who serves as our Judge that they should be exemplary in their compliance with all laws and for those who purposely delay justice that justice delayed is justice denied,” Cordevilla said.

Leonen on Monday asked the members of the House “to do the right thing.”

In a statement, Leonen said he was informed that the process of impeachment had finally begun, but added that he has not received a copy of the complaint.