A record 6,533 law graduates are set to take the 2008 Bar examinations to be held on all four Sundays of this month (September 7, 14, 21, and 28) at the De La Salle University (DLSU) in Taft Avenue, Manila. The 2008 Committee on Bar Examinations is chaired by Justice Dante O. Tinga.
Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Ma. Cristina B. Layusa said of the total 6,560 petitions to take the Bar exams, 11 had been denied. Sixteen Bar candidates have also withdrawn, reducing the number of Bar examinees to 6,533 as of press time.
Atty. Layusa added that the Supreme Court (SC) has tasked more than 1,440 personnel, including building coordinators, superintendents, supervisors, headwatchers, watchers, Bar assistants, and special assistants – also a record number – to help ensure the successful conduct of the exams.
Operatives of the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Western Police District Office from its traffic, area security, bomb disposal and mobile units, as well as medical and dental personnel will also be deployed in the area during all four Sundays.
Atty. Layusa urged the examinees to come early this coming Sunday since the annual Alay Lakad along Roxas Boulevard may affect the traffic situation on that day. DLSU gates will open as early as 5 a.m during the Bar exam dates. Moreover, the portion of Taft Avenue from Quirino Avenue to Pablo Ocampo Sr. Street (formerly Vito Cruz) will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Bar exam dates.
During the August 28 briefing of personnel for the 2008 Bar examinations, Justice Tinga urged all those who will serve in the “most transparent, and the best-run professional exams” to work hard. He said that this year’s Bar Examinations has the “most number of candidates, the most number of rooms (to be used).”
This year’s examinees will use 95 rooms, five conference rooms, and Central Plaza, and 57 additional classrooms, including six theater-type rooms of the DLSU Taft campus.
“Let us do our duty well…That way, the Bar exams will remain to be most trusted, most honest, most popular,” Justice Tinga stressed.
SC Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura was also introduced during the said briefing as the Chairperson of the 2009 Committee on the Bar Examinations.
In a related development, the Court has adopted guidelines for all concerned regarding their conduct and activities within the perimeter of the venue of the Bar exams (“Perimeter Area”).
Stressing that the Bar examinations are in the nature of a court proceeding, the Court enjoins all examinees and all other persons within the Perimeter Area “to observe the same conduct and decorum as they would attend a court hearing or when within the immediate vicinity thereof.”
The Court said no noise-making activities of any kind shall be allowed in the Perimeter Area from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any of the four Sundays of the Bar exams. “Alcoholic beverages and any kind of deadly weapon shall be absolutely prohibited within the said area for the duration of the exams.”
On the observance of proper decorum, the Court said, “No improper or unbecoming conduct in the Perimeter Area shall be allowed for the duration of the Bar Examinations, including but not limited to: ‘streaking’ or any other form of exhibitionism; ati-atihan or any other form of parades; the playing of live or loud music; cheerleading exhibitions; political demonstrations; gambling; and other similar activities that cause disruption or disturbance to the examinees at any time on the day or on the eve of the examinations.”
After 5 p.m., or the end of examination time during all four Sundays, any conduct or activity within the Perimeter Area shall be governed and regulated in accordance with the relevant laws and local government ordinances.
“The Court will enforce these guidelines strictly and adopt sanctions against violations thereof under its inherent powers as well as under applicable laws and ordinances,” the Guidelines stated.
The 2005 Bar exams marked the first time that the “five-strike” rule was implemented. The “five-strike” rule limits to five the maximum number of times a candidate may take what is reputed to be the most grueling government-administered test.
Last year, 5,626 examinees took the 2007 Bar exams. Of the total, 1,289 examinees, or 22.91 percent, passed.
The first Bar exams were held in 1901, with 13 examinees.
The Court conducts the Bar examinations pursuant to Article VIII, Sec. 5 of the Constitution which provides that it shall have the power to promulgate rules governing the admission to the practice of law.
The Rules of Court provide that “a candidate may be deemed to have passed his examination successfully if he has obtained a general average of 75% in all subjects without falling below 50% in any subject.” In determining the average, subjects in the examinations are given the following relative weights: Political and International Law, 15%; Labor and Social Legislation, 10%; Civil Law, 15%; Taxation, 10%; Mercantile Law, 15%; Criminal Law, 10%; Remedial Law, 20%; and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, 5%, for a total of 100%. (by ANNIE ROSE A. LABORTE, Supreme Court News Flash)