The Supreme Court has given aspiring lawyers who registered for the online 2020-2021 bar examinations this November, but failed to finish their registrations, until Friday, September 24, to complete it.
In a Bar Bulletin issued by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chairman of the 2020-2021 Bar Examinations Committee, the SC said the online applications for the bar examinations ended last Sept. 15, but it learned that many have not completed their registrations.
“Those who have substantially complied with the deadline will be given until Sept. 24, 2021 to complete their registration,” Leonen stressed.
Covered by the extension include those who have substantially complied with the deadline are “applicants who have uploaded their documentary requirements but have yet to pay their bar fees (P10,000), or paid applicants, but whose payments have not been reflected in their accounts; and applicants who only partially completed their applications; or applicants who could not submit their applications because of technical issues.”
The SC said applicants may reach out to the Office of the Bar Confidant Helpdesk hotlines at 09178138543 or 09088507682 or at its e-mail address, [email protected]
Court records showed that more than 11,000 law graduates have so far applied for the 2020-2021 online bar examinations to be conducted in four Sundays this November.
The tremendous increase in the number of examinees was attributed to the postponement of the bar examinations in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic and the holding of the tests simultaneously with the 2021 examinations.
In 2019, a total of 7,685 law graduates took the bar examinations, 8,158 in 2018 and 6,748 in 2017.
The online examinations will be conducted in at least 24 testing centers nationwide.
Even the application and the payment of fees in November’s examinations are being done online by the SC.
While the original deadline for application was last Sept. 15, the SC had to extend it to Sept. 24 for those who have registered but have not completed their registration due to some technical issues.
There will be 24 testing centers nationwide for the bar examinations on Nov. 7, 14, 21, and 28.
The SC had said that four other testing centers -- three in Metro Manila and one in Central Luzon -- are still being considered.
It said the use of several testing centers nationwide is aimed at “reducing the examinees' travel and accommodation expenses as well as minimizing their transit to comply with public health guidelines in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As of last August, the testing centers with their maximum available slots are: National Capital Region -- Ateneo de Manila University Law School, Ateneo Professional Schools Building, 20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City (maximum 269 slots); Manila Adventist College, 1975 San Juan Street, Pasay City (maximum 450 slots); University of Makati, J.P. Rizal Extension, West Rembo, Makati City (maximum 1,000 slots); Far Eastern University, Nicanor Reyes, Sampaloc, Manila (maximum 600 slots); and University of Santo Tomas, España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila (maximum 500 slots).
Cordillera Administrative Region -- St. Louis University School of Law, A. Bonifacio Street, Baguio City (maximum 1,035 slots).
Region 1 (Ilocos Region) -- St. Louis College, Carlatan, San Fernando City, La Union (maximum 1,280 slots).
Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) -- Cagayan State University College of Law, Carig Campus - Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (maximum 421 slots); St. Mary’s University College of Law, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (maximum 259 slots).
Region 4A (CALABARZON) -- De La Salle University – Lipa, 1962 Pres. J.P. Laurel National Highway, Lipa City, Batangas (maximum 1,125 slots).
Region 4B (MIMAROPA) -- City College of Calapan, Barangay Guinobatan, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro (maximum 200 slots).
Region 5 (Bicol Region) -- University of Nueva Caceres, J. Hernandez Avenue, Naga, Camarines Sur (maximum 1,000 slots).
Region 6 (Western Visayas) -- Central Philippine University, University Avenue, Jaro, Iloilo City, Iloilo (maximum 475 slots) and University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (maximum 1,340 slots).
Region 7 (Central Visayas) -- University of San Jose Recoletos – Basak Campus, N. Bacalso Street, Basak, Pardo, Cebu City (maximum 600 slots); University of Cebu School of Law, UC Banilad, M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad, Cebu City (maximum 1,000 slots); University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance, University of San Carlos Law Building, Pelaez Street, Cebu City (maximum 200 slots); and Silliman University College of Law, 1 Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (maximum 1,000 slots).
Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) -- Dr. V. Orestes Romualdez Educational Foundation, Calanipawan Road, Barangay Calanipawan, Tacloban City, Leyte (maximum 400 slots).
Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) -- Ateneo de Zamboanga University, La Purisima Street, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur (maximum 365 slots).
Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) -- Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan College of Law, 73 Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental (maximum 240 slots); Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Andres Bonifacio Avenue, Tibanga, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (maximum 250 slots).
Region 11 (Davao Region) -- Ateneo de Davao University, Senior High School Campus, Bangkal, Davao City (maximum 800 slots).
Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) -- Mindanao State University, Fatima, General Santos City (maximum 204 slots).
Aside from conducting the tests online, there will be no announcement on 10 topnotchers as traditionally done. But those who get a weighted average score of 85 per cent will be recognized for exemplary performance.
The SC said the non-recognition of 10 topnotchers will only be, in the meantime, for the 2020-2021 bar examinations.
The high court also said that aside from recognizing exemplary performance of examinees, it will have a list of law schools ranked from the most to the least number of passers among first time examinees, and a separate list ranked from those with the most to the least number of examinees recognized for exemplary performance.
“It is hoped that by shifting the focus away from how select individuals excel and onto a school’s collective performance, this will encourage deep-seated and wide-ranging improvements in legal education,” Justice Leonen said in a previous bar bulletin.
The SC said the modification in the grading system for the 2020-2021 bar examinations was one of the reforms proposed by Justice Leonen.
It said the modification was done “to enable a more reasonable approach to appraising and reporting on Bar Examination performance.”