Marvic Leonen

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Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
Leonen in robes.jpg
172nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Assumed office
November 21, 2012
Appointed byBenigno Aquino III
Preceded byMaria Lourdes Sereno
Chief Peace Negotiator for the Republic of the Philippines
In office
July 2010 – November 2012
Appointed byBenigno Aquino III
Succeeded byMiriam Coronel-Ferrer
Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law
In office
Preceded bySalvador T. Carlota, LL.M.
Succeeded byDanilo Concepcion, LL.M.
Personal details
Born (1962-12-29) December 29, 1962 (age 56)
Baguio, Philippines
Alma materUniversity of the Philippines Diliman
Columbia University

Mario Victor "Marvic" F. Leonen (born December 29, 1962) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He is the second youngest to hold the said position since Manuel V. Moran in 1938. Prior to his stint in the country's highest court, he had served as chief peace negotiator of the Republic of the Philippines in the talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Leonen was dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law at Diliman from 2008 to 2011. He is well known in the fields of environmental activism and community organizing.

Education and early career[edit]

After finishing high school at Saint Louis University-Boys' High School as valedictorian, Leonen graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1983 and served as chairman of the organization Economics Toward Consciousness, a student organization based in the University of the Philippines School of Economics, in A.Y. 1982-1983. He obtained his law degree from the university's College of Law in 1987. Later that year, he co-founded the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc.-Kasama sa Kalikasan, a legal and policy research and advocacy institution which focused on providing legal services for upland rural poor and indigenous people's communities.[1] He served as the Center's executive director for fifteen years.[1] He then left for Columbia University for his Master of Laws degree.

At the UP College of Law[edit]

UP Dean Marvic MVF Leonen's office at Room 201 in Malcolm Hall (University of the Philippines College of Law, shared with fellow professor (later on Supreme Court Spokesperson) Atty. Theodore Te

Leonen joined the law faculty in 1989 as professorial lecturer in Philippine Indigenous Law. He became assistant professor during the term of Dean Pacifico Agabin and started to do work as an academic administrator under the term of Dean Merlin M. Magallona. In 2000, he joined the University of the Philippines System administration as University General Counsel. In March 2005, he became the first Vice President for Legal Affairs of the UP System. Leonen has taught 20 different subjects in the law school. He also served as director of the clinical legal education program of the college. His teaching competence is not only acknowledged in the CL but also in other institutions like Miriam College and the Philippine Judicial Academy, to cite a few. He has extensively lectured and acted as resource speaker in other national and international fora such as those conducted in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Estonia and the United Kingdom.[2]

In 2008, he was selected as the Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law at UP Diliman by the Board of Regents of the UP System.[3] He served as Dean until the appointment of Danilo L. Concepcion in June 2011.

Leonen has also provided legal commentary for television networks such as ABS-CBN and GMA Network during the coverage of such events as the 2001 impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada.

Government chief peace negotiator (2010–2012)[edit]

In July 2010, Leonen was named by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III as the Philippine government's chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.[4] Under his leadership, the government successfully sealed a framework agreement with the MILF for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. His performance was hailed by different sectors in society, bringing new hopes for an everlasting peace in the war-torn Mindanao.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (2012–present)[edit]

On 21 November 2012, President Benigno Aquino III named Leonen as the 172nd Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court at the age of 49. Leonen is the youngest Justice in the current century.[citation needed]

In oral arguments, Leonen frequently challenges the arguer's position with his stringent lines of questioning. He has a remarkable command of the Socratic method in order to test positions and arguments of counsel appearing in Court.

In a landmark case of Belgica v Executive Secretary, where the Court declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional, Leonen wrote a separate concurring opinion where he displayed great command of logic and the law in order to arrive with conclusions regarding the unconstitutionality of pork barrel. He said, "A member of the House of Representatives or a Senator is not an automated teller machine from which the public can withdraw funds for sundry private purposes."


  1. ^ a b "The Samdhana Institute: Fellows". The Samdhana Institute. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Protesters greet Neri at UP Diliman". ABS-CBN News Online. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-03-26.[dead link]
  4. ^ Jam L. Sisante (2010-07-15). "UP Law dean Leonen to head GRP panel in talks with MILF". GMA News.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Maria Lourdes Sereno
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines