MANILA, Philippines — Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has refuted a report saying his office submitted a request for renovation of the cottage assigned to him at the Supreme Court compound in Baguio City.
“My chambers never endorsed the P5-million proposal to renovate Cottage G in Baguio City,” Leonen said in a statement sent through the SC Public Information Office.
Leonen said the SC’s Maintenance Division drafted the request and it never even went through his office.
He said that when he learned that the matter was placed on the Court En Banc’s agenda, he “immediately wrote a letter requesting that the matter be withdrawn, and it was promptly deleted.”
Leonen issued the statement after the Manila Times reported Monday that Leonen’s judicial staff had requested renovation of the cottage assigned to him at the SC compound in Baguio, where the court holds a summer session.
The report also showed a memorandum for the SC justices from the Procurement Planning Committee that mentioned a letter from Leonen’s Judicial Staff requesting the renovation that costs P4,970,623.41. Leonen’s statement did not discuss this allegation.
Leonen urged the media to “thoroughly verify” their reports. He stressed: “Misleading information, whether or not motivated by malice, harms the shaping of public opinion. It skews democracy in favor of malevolent elements.”
The SC justices also said that while freedom of the press is a constitutional right, those who wield its power also bear responsibility.null
Leonen continued: “Disinformation is an insult to the values congealed in free speech. Disinformation, especially from media, should end.”
Manila Times reports on Leonen
The Manila Times previously published a column by Rigoberto Tiglao accusing Leonen of allegedly failing to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth for 15 years — a central issue in Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition that led to the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Lawyer Larry Gadon and Calida later asked the SC for copy of Leonen’s SALN in preparation of a quo warranto petition, but these were denied twice by the SC.
Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas also wrote a two-part report on Leonen’s supposed 2017 “Reflections” on former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The reports were cited largely in Marcos’ and Calida’s unrelated but almost similar motions moving for Leonen’s inhibition from the case.
The motions to inhibit were denied, and the SC previously issued show-cause orders to Calida and Canlas but these have been reportedly withdrawn. — via Sean Tyler Chan/AdChoiceTV News