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Leonen: SC should ensure President ain’t a puppet

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Supreme Court (SC) Justice Marvic Leonen believes the high tribunal should ensure that no unelected official has taken over Malacanang by taking advantage of an ill President.

Leonen pointed this out in his dissenting opinion which expressed disapproval with the decision of the majority of the SC justices to dismiss the petition of lawyer Dino De Leon without seeking the comment of Malacanang.

The petition sought before the SC to compel the Palace to reveal the health condition of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The public is entitled to know whether there are moments that the President is even temporarily and involuntarily unable to discharge his duties, which may cause the entire Executive to be run under the command of unelected officials,” Leonen stressed.

In deciding most constitutional controversies, the magistrate pointed out involves “involves a choice of protecting the rights of the sovereign or upholding the privileges and immunities of incumbents discharging temporary political positions.”

“Protecting the temporary incumbent in one of the most important public positions during an international pandemic not only undermines overall public confidence in his leadership, but also creates an atrocious precedent, which invites abuse in the future,” he said.

“It undermines our independence and makes this Court vulnerable to the charge that we have ceased to be a sentinel of the fundamental rights of the sovereign people and enrobed ourselves with the garments of servility,” he added.

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