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Justice Leonen says ‘no victory to be celebrated’ in dismissal of impeachment complaint 

SUPREME Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen did not celebrate the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against him by the House of Representatives on Thursday, saying it was a waste of time and was ill-motivated to begin with.

“There is no victory to be celebrated by anyone. If anything, it should remind some not to waste our time and resources for narrow parochial selfish gains,” Mr. Leonen said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

“A dismissal on the basis of the mere face of the impeachment complaint affirms the baselessness of the grounds raised. It is an act that powerfully speaks for itself,” he added.

Mr. Leonen said the country’s leaders will eventually see the motives of those who filed the complaint and “(a)t the right time, they will do the right thing.”

He also told “the prime movers of this baseless complaint and those who have supported them” that he wishes them well, “and I wish that you will also find your own peace.”

The complaint was filed in Dec. 2020 by Edwin M. Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government. It was endorsed by House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco in March.

The House of Representatives dismissed the complaint for lack of authentic and verified documents supporting his alleged violations of the Constitution.

The complaint alleged that Mr. Leonen violated the 1987 Constitution by failing to submit his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) when he was with the University of the Philippines, and for his slow disposal of cases before the Supreme Court.

Deputy Speaker Rufus R. Rodriguez, during his manifestation on Thursday, said the complaint lacked the authenticated documents that are meant to determine its sufficiency in form. Most of the documents submitted were published newspaper articles.

“The complaint is beyond verifying because they are all hearsay. All of the documents are hearsay. All the attached in annexes are hearsay,” Mr. Rodriguez said.

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, for his part, said the supposed violations relating to the filing of SALNs cannot be impeachable as the allegations happened before Mr. Leonen’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

“Granting if this is true, it cannot be a ground for impeachment for the following reasons: one, the alleged failure was before Justice Leonen was appointed as Associate Justice in 2012. An impeachable incumbent official should be impeached for offenses done during his incumbency,” he said. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago and Gillian M. Cortez

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