Leonen urged to inhibit from Poe case

ONE of the petitioners who is seeking to disqualify Senator Grace Poe from the May 2016 polls has asked Supreme Court (SC) Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit from Poe's case for "losing impartiality"

In a Motion for Voluntary Inhibition filed on Friday, lawyer Estrella Elamparo slammed Leonen for being emotional and for not keeping his sentiment in check during his interpellation of Poe's counsel Alexander Poblador on the first day of the oral arguments held last January 19.

Elamparo cited two accounts that quoted Leonen saying Poe surely had a difficult time growing up not knowing who her real parents are.

Elamparo cited that during the oral arguments, Leonen said, "I grew up without a father, it was difficult. But I think of those people who don’t know their fathers but grew up with their mother also have a difficult time. Those who do not have a mother and a father and stay with their adoptive parents also have a very difficult time."

Leonen further said, "What did she do for her parents to leave her? She was a newborn baby and she did not have any moral volition at that point. It is completely the agency and moral decision of the parents to actually leave her behind."

Elamparo said that Leonen's "overflowing empathy" shows that he has lost his impartiality and is now determined to "champion the cause of the petitioner."

Elamparo, Leonen's student in the University of the Philippines College of Law, believes that the magistrate's personal experience and the emotions that his experience stirs up obviously predispose him to rule in favor of petitioner.

Elamparo said what happened during the last oral argument was not an interpellation but a passionate plea to end petitioner’s difficulty.

Thus, the petitioner said that the Leonen must inhibit himself from Poe's case.

"If the Honorable Justice Leonen truly wants to serve the ends of justice in this all-important case that may impact the fate of the nation, the only just and decent thing would be to inhibit himself," Elamparo said.

The high court is set to hear the continuation of the oral arguments on Poe's two petitions against the Comelec's rulings on Tuesday, January 26, with the presentation of the positions of the Comelec, petitioners against Poe and the Office of the Solicitor General.

The Supreme Court earlier issued two temporary restraining orders against the Commission on Elections decision cancelling Poe's certificate of candidacy for president and another decision to completely remove Poe's name from the ballot. (Sunnex)
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