Senior lawyer ex-solon v Leonen
A former lawmaker described as a veteran of impeachment cases against incriminated government officials will serve as lead counsel in the charges brought by good governance lawyer Edwin Cordevilla against Deputy Supreme Court Judge Marvic Leonen. On the first day of the House of Representatives justice committee hearing today, May 27, attorney Matias “Mat” Defensor Jr. will lead Cordevilla’s legal team. Defensor accepted the post on a “pro bono” deal, he said in a statement. Prior to becoming a legislator in 2004, Defensor, who received his law degree from the University of the Philippines, was considered a giant in the legal profession. Defensor was a representative of the Third District of Quezon City from 2004 to 2007. He won another term in 2007 and served the House until 2010. As a legislator, he became the head of the House Justice Committee, which deals with and approves impeachment complaints filed by citizens. This committee specifically finds out whether there is “form” and “substance” to complaints against ungodly government officials. As the former head of the Justice Committee and a practicing lawyer, Defensor has a deep understanding of the strategy and tactics on how he would win the impeachment case against Leonen, Cordevilla’s team said. Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon will remain on Cordevilla’s legal team, which will actively assist Defensor. Defensor said in an interview that his team would “surely win” Cordevilla’s impeachment complaint so that Leonen could stand trial in the Senate, which in turn will serve as an impeachment court.
Defensor pointed out that on the issue of Leonen’s alleged violation of the Statement of Assets and Liabilities Network (SALN) alone, Leonen should be kicked out of the Supreme Court because he has not filed his SALN 15 times as a member. and Dean of the College of Law of UP. The former solon cited as the basis of his optimistic view of Leonen’s defeat the dismissal of then-chief justice Renato Corona as senior magistrate due to his inability to file his SALN twice. In addition, the career of then-chief magistrate Maria Lourdes Sereno was cut short in 2018 after she was found guilty of failing to file a SALN six times while she was a law professor at the UP. Defensor’s point of view is that violation of the SALN Act is a serious legal offense that can end the career of a senior magistrate. In addition to not filing a SALN, Defensor also highlighted the charges of “culpable violation of the Constitution” and “betrayal of public trust” slapped by Cordevilla against Leonen. Cordevilla filed the impeachment complaint in the House in December 2020. It was accepted and approved by Ilocos Norte’s representative. Angelo Barba, who was convinced Cordevilla’s complaint was sufficient in form and substance. Vice President Rufus Rodriguez also said this week that members of the House Justice Committee headed by Leyte Representative Vicente Veloso would focus on the details of the evidence in the impeachment complaint against Leonen. They would not address Leonen’s other issues from other individuals and private companies awaiting the fate of their cases that have accumulated on his Supreme Court record, a few months after Leonen’s appointment to the top bench. in November. 2012.
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