House lawmakers want Bar exams held in Visayas, Mindanao

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Monday, May 19, 2014

A RESOLUTION has been filed in the House of Representatives urging the Supreme Court to hold the bar exams, arguably the toughest licensure examination in the country, in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and brother Abante Mindanao party-list Representative Maximo Rodriguez filed House Resolution 1023 urging the Supreme Court to amend Section 11, Rule 138 (Attorneys and Admission to Bar) of the Rules of Court.

The amendment will allow bar examinations to be held not only in Manila but also in the cities of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. The decentralization will benefit those who live far from Manila, the lawmakers said.

"Various law schools in the Visayas and Mindanao have, in recent years, called for the decentralization of the Bar exams and have said exams held simultaneously in Manila, Visayas and Mindanao," he said.
The high court previously said that it would be difficult to conduct bar exams outside of Manila due to budgetary constraints and the difficulty of ensuring the integrity of the test questions to prevent leakages particularly when the questioners are being transported.
"At present, Section 11, Rule 138 (Attorneys and Admission to Bar) of the Rules of Court provide that, 'Examinations for admission to the bar of the Philippines shall take place annually in the City of Manila,'" Rodriguez said.
But the lawmaker noted that several bar examinees living outside Manila have additional difficulties in going to the country's capital and staying there for four weeks and "it would be more disadvantageous for the examinees from the provinces, not only financially but also emotionally and psychologically."
Rodriguez cited the view of University of Cebu-College of Law dean Baldomero Estenzo who said that that more Bar takers will probably pass if the exams are done outside Metro Manila since this would free them from the financial and psychological baggage.
He said that Estenzo and the rest of the law deans in the Visayas have previously filed a petition in 2010 asking the Supreme Court to also hold the Bar exams in regional centers like Cebu.
HB 1023 has been referred to the justice committee. (Sunnex)

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