A Catholic prelate in Mindanao said the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen “malicious” and reeks of “self-interest.”

SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen

“I find malicious the filing of this complaint, and its timing suspect. It reeks of self-interest,” Marbel Bishop Cerilo Casicas said in a statement dated December 12.

“It merely seeks, it seems to us, to remove a thorn in the side of certain personalities,” he added.

Casicas said there seems to be a concerted effort to bring down an esteemed justice whose integrity is without question and whose contributions to social transformation are varied and many.

According to the prelate, before the filing of the impeachment complaint in the House of Representatives last December 7, there was also a move to remove Leonen from the vice-presidential electoral case lodged in his chamber.

“This impeachment complaint again politicizes what is supposed to be an independent process the adjudication of an electoral case,” Casicas said.

He added:”This impeachment complaint once again disingenuously makes use of our democratic institutions merely to wrest power. Our young democracy is made fragile by complaints which are less legitimate grievances and more hollow charades.”

As a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Casicas said, he cannot be silent when a defender of the poor and the oppressed is being assailed.

“Justice Leonen was the country’s chief negotiator in the peace process that ultimately led to the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. For years, he served as dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law. And before that he was a barefoot lawyer, seeking out indigenous peoples and poor rural communities in remote areas, to equip them with the ability to fight for their rights and to defend them in court against abusive and powerful forces,” he said.

“I stand by this man of honor and principles,” added Casicas.

The Marbel prelate said a track record of legal brilliance, dedication to societal change and service to rule of law-these characteristics ought to be celebrated in a man instead of making him the subject of attack.

“I decry any and all efforts to bring him down in the name of self serving ends.” Casicas said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/12/16/mindanao-prelate-decries-move-to-impeach-sc-magistrate/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mindanao-prelate-decries-move-to-impeach-sc-magistrate)