The Supreme Court on Tuesday has approved the recommendation of Bar Chairperson and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to reduce the coverage and shorten the duration of the 2020-2021 online bar examinations “in view of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “the effects of typhoon ‘Odette.’”
As a consequence, the Bar examinations will now be held on January 23, Sunday, and January 25, Tuesday, instead of the previous dates set by the SC on January 16, 23, 30, and February 6.
Aside from the shortened Bar exams, the traditional eight subjects, the examinees will take four sets of examinations only, namely: the Law Pertaining to the State and Its Relationship with Its Citizens (formerly Political Law, Labor Law, and Taxation Law); Criminal Law; the Law Pertaining to Private Personal and Commercial Relations (formerly Civil Law and Commercial Law); and Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics, and Practical Exercises).
The 15-member bench made the decision after it was recommended the Bar Chairperson, but pro hac vice (for this one time only), meaning only for the 2020-2021 bar examinations.
“These changes pro hac vice seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the country. The Philippines has produced no new lawyers since the pandemic,” the SC said.
“But while the bar examinations may no longer be postponed, it can be held in a way that is more humane. With these changes, the Court strikes that balance,” it added.
With these changes, the SC advised all examinees to self-quarantine starting January 9, 2022, or at least two weeks before the Bar Examinations.
The SC’s decision came after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu City Chapter earlier urged the high court to postpone the bar examinations in “Odette”-affected areas.
In its plea for postponement, IBP-Cebu City pleaded the SC that typhoon “Odette” caused “severe damage to Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte, and other areas in Mindanao.”
“Many have lost their homes and are without electricity and water,” the IBP-Cebu City lamented.
“Telecommunication lines, Wi-Fi and data connection have been cut off,” it added.
At the same time, IBP-Cebu Chapter said that many law schools have also reached out to bar candidates but have “yet to hear from all their bar candidates.”
Those whom the law schools were able to reach have “signified their request to have the Bar Examinations postponed,” it said.