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SC junks motion to inhibit Leonen in VP poll protest

The Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), junked the separate but similar motions of Solicitor General Jose Calida and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asking that Associate Justice Marvic Leonen inhibit himself from the vice presidential election protest

The High Court also issued a show-cause order to Calida over his motion to inhibit Leonen from the case.

The Supreme Court Public Information Office said the SC voted unanimously to deny the Motions to Inhibit separately filed by Marcos and Calida.

Marcos accused Leonen of partiality to Vice President Leni Robredo in the poll proceedings. Calida also filed a separate motion using the same arguments.

Calida said he was filing the motion as part of his mandate of being “tribune of the people,” which was the same reason he used when he favored Marcos in the voting shade threshold controversy.

The PET also issued a show cause order to Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas for his two-part story on the supposed “reflections” of Leonen on the poll protest case.

The separate motions of Calida and Marcos quoted Canlas’ newspaper article.

The tribunal is deliberating issues on the third cause of action in Marcos’ poll protest, which is the annulment of elections in three Mindanao provinces due to alleged terrorism and vote-buying.

The OSG and the Commissions on Elections had already submitted their separate comments on the issues that involve votes from Maguindanao, Basilan and Lanao del Sur.

While the Office of the Solicitor General and the Comelec both said the PET can declare annulment of elections, Calida added in a separate comment: “It is undubitable that even if the votes cast in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan are declared null and void, there is no failure to elect to speak of. On the contrary, the ultimate winner, or the one with the majority (or plurality) of the valid votes cast, is easily determinable.”

Nullifying the votes in the three provinces will wipe out Robredo’s narrow lead over Marcos.

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