Ang huwes ng hugot: Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is Twitter's #LabGuru

MANILA, Philippines – Marvic Leonen is a man of many accomplishments. He is, most notably, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines. Beyond that, he was once the country's chief peace negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law, and championed the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. 

But there is now a new, and unexpected, feather in his cap: viral Twitter sensation. 

One would expect an SC justice's Twitter feed to be filled with insights on justice and the law, and indeed Leonen delivers: 

This is one of the more fundamental problems of any democratic and humane legal order: at what point does punishment for a wrong done become morally invalid and therefore too cruel and inhuman? — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 22, 2019 Participation in a democracy is indeed a fundamental and inherent political right. But, like every right it has to be exercised ethically; that is, with responsible efforts to be informed and civility towards others. Democracy is never a license to be inhuman. #CriticalDemocracy — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) June 30, 2019

But majority of Leonen's tweets cater to a far broader audience: Filipinos seeking love advice. Day after day, he dispenses tidbits of romantic wisdom to anyone who would care to read:

Do not search for someone perfect. That’s exaggerated advertising. Rather search for the imperfect individual with whom you both will be the sanctuary where you evolve into the best versions of yourselves. If not, being alone should be a viable option. Reading books will help. — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 31, 2019 Do not look for someone to complete you. That’s a fools errand: wanting to have someone to burden for life. Rather, be open to discovering one who you will deeply care for. Spend real time with her. Be there when she needs you. Be consistent. And, vice versa. That’s love. — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 19, 2019 Amazing fact: You invite profound troubles when you use the phrase “you are the love of my life” to more than ten people simultaneously — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 16, 2019

He even responds to queries sent to him privately, and proudly uses the hashtag #LabGuru:

Response to query: Do not rush to find a life partner. Your potential significant other may not be rushing too. Perhaps she* is still with someone else. You’re welcome. *UseAppropriatePronoun #LabGuru — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) September 3, 2019 Response to query: If you think you need to give priority to “self love”, expect that you will be alone for quite a while. By definition being with another requires compromise. Ironically, most of the time even, it will not be about you. You’re welcome. — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 31, 2019 Response to query: She has not responded to your message probably because she is savoring your every word because you only sent the enigmatic: “Hi there”. Be patient, with that profound message you will have a lifetime to wait. You’re welcome. — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 24, 2019

His romantic side also comes out in verse, and sometimes incorporates his passion for veganism:

love is not like the raging fire that consumes you; rather; it is certainly the warm glowing embers that can slowly make grilled vegetables #LoveFromVegans — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) September 3, 2019 you exist beyond the reach of all my poetry. #NoRhymes #WednesdayTraffic — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) August 7, 2019 dumating ka na parang bagyong maligalig; ngunit naglaho na parang mahinhing ihip ng hanging pilit na humahalik ng makasaysayang pagpapaalam. #NoRhymes #MorningTraffic #Lunes — Marvic Leonen (@marvicleonen) July 29, 2019

Before Twitter, however, Leonen had always had a way with words when it came to cases about marriage and relationships. (READ: What the Supreme Court says about love

For example, in Matudan vs People, in which the Supreme Court remained very conservative in its definition of what constitutes annulment, Leonen pleaded:

“Parties should not be forced to stay in unhappy or otherwise broken marriages in the guise of protecting the family. This avoids the reality that people fall out of love. There is always the possibility that human love is not forever.”

How do you feel about Leonen's tweets? Does his authority in the judicial branch give even more weight to his words on love? Sound off in the comments section! – 

Marguerite de Leon

Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon heads Rappler’s Opinion section, and is (happily) wrangled into voice over and hosting work. She has been with Rappler since 2013, and also served as its social media producer for 6 years. She is also a fictionist.