Posted at 12/08/2010 6:30 PM | Updated as of 12/08/2010 8:20 PM


MANILA, Philippines – Atty. Marvic Leonen has offered to resign as dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law over accusations of plagiarism in an article he wrote in 2004.

The alleged plagiarism stems from an incident where he failed to cite his source, Dr. Owen Lynch, also a professor at UP Law, in an article he wrote for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Journal back in 2004.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News on Wednesday, Leonen said that he “missed two footnotes” in the said article, an “honest mistake” which Lynch himself “does not consider an act of intellectual dishonesty.”

“Although I have not committed any act of intellectual dishonesty, any accusation of impropriety should be enough cause to offer to resign as dean of UP Law,” Leonen said.

“Some group of lawyers pointed this out to me two days ago,” he said. “We walk our talk.”

This comes at the heels of the battle between the UP law community and the Supreme Court over accusations that Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo plagiarized law journals in his ponencia in the Vinuya vs. Executive Secretary case.

Thirty-seven professors of the college, including Leonen, came out with a statement calling for Del Castillo’s resignation, even if the case was still pending, last August 9.

On October 20, the Supreme Court ordered the group, now dubbed the “UP Law 37,” to explain why they should not be disciplined for violating certain canons of the law profession.

In particular, it cited a portion of the Professional Code of Conduct of Lawyers, which says: “Lawyers are prohibited to issue statements to the media relating to pending cases which may influence the public in favor or against a party.”

The professors, in response, said they are required by the ethics of the profession to support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools as well as in the practical training of law students.

Del Castillo was later cleared by the high court.

Leonen is also the chief negotiator of the Aquino government in the peace talks with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). — With reports from ANC