Leonen may inhibit if Bangsamoro reaches SC

Posted at 11/23/2012 6:54 PM | Updated as of 11/24/2012 12:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines - New Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Friday said he may inhibit himself if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) framework agreement with the government is questioned before the high court.

Leonen led the government panel behind the Bangsamoro framework agreement with the MILF.

"I'm willing to inhibit if in case that (filing of petition in SC against Bangsamoro) happens," he said on the sidelines of a luncheon hosted by the Philippine Bar Association in Makati.

It was the first time for Leonen to speak in public as a new Supreme Court associate justice since his appointment early this week by President Benigno Aquino.

He said he has yet to transfer all of his belongings from the Office of the President to his new office at the high court.

Leonen also defended the Bangsamoro peace framework deal.

During the Arroyo administration, the Supreme Court junked the government's memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain with the MILF.

President Aquino on Thursday also expressed confidence that a final settlement with the MILF is within reach even without Leonen as the government's chief peace negotiator.

He said presidential peace adviser Ging Deles made the assurance amid his qualms about letting Leonen go.

"Sa loob ko, talagang maganda ang ginawa ni Marvic na trabaho na magkaroon ng pagkakaunawaan. 'At kinakabahan ako pakawalan kita ngayong hindi pa tayo tapos,'" Aquino said of what he told Leonen when he interviewed him.

"Sa totoo lang ho, maski na napilitan nang kapiraso lang si Ging, inako na ho niya lahat ang responsibilidad na talgang mapapaspas ang ating final settlement," Aquino said.