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SolGen threatened with contempt after seeking to oust judge

THE SUPREME Court has threatened to hold Solicitor General Jose C. Calida in contempt for seeking to oust a magistrate he had accused of bias in the election protest of losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

The court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, ordered him why he should not be cited in contempt for seeking the inhibition of Associate Justice Mario Victor F. Leonen.

It rejected separate inhibition pleas by the top government lawyer and Mr. Marcos, the court’s Public Information Office said in a statement on Tuesday. Mr. Marcos and Mr. Calida in their motions had cited news articles alleging bias on the part of Mr. Leonen.

The court also ordered the news reporter to explain why he should not be held in contempt. A copy of the order had not been released.

Mr. Marcos last week accused Mr. Leonen, who presides over the case, of being biased against his family. He also accused the justice at an online briefing of trying to delay the case.

Mr. Calida, in a separate motion, said Mr. Leonen had failed to act on the electoral protest for 11 months.

The PET warned both parties last week not to discuss the case to the media and observe the so-called sub judice rule, which bars anyone from issuing comments that could interfere with the court’s handling of the suit. Mr. Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, filed the protest in June 2016 after narrowly losing to Ms. Robredo, alleging massive fraud.

A resolution released in October last year showed that Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo’s lead against Mr. Marcos in three provinces where fraud allegedly took place — had risen by about 15,000 votes after the initial recount. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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