Drilon backs regional bar exams

10:32 am | Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Senate President Franklin Drilon: Decentralize. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Senate President Franklin Drilon will ask the Supreme Court to decentralize the bar exams, one of the most difficult licensure tests in the country.

He expressed support for the holding of the bar examinations in the regions, not just Manila, during a news conference on Tuesday.  Drilon said decentralizing the holding of the bar exams would cut the costs for examinees coming from the provinces.

“I can sponsor a (Senate) resolution, urging the Supreme Court to hold the bar examinations in three sites in the country: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao,” hesaid.

Drilon was in Cebu on Tuesday to address the graduates of the University of Cebu (UC) as well as to meet with the school’s new lawyers, including Manuel Elijah Sarausad who ranked sixth in last year’s Bar exams.

Drilon said that while the Rules of Court has long mandated that the bar exams be held in Manila, it could still be rectified.

“The Supreme Court can amend the rules. They have the sole prerogative to do that,” Drilon said. “Holding the bar exams in Manila is not something written in stone.”

Rule 138, section 11 of the Rules of Court states that “examinations for admission to the bar of the Philippines shall take place annually in the City of Manila. They shall be held in four days to be designated by the chairman of the committee on bar examiners.”

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, who was in Cebu two weeks ago, described as “impossible” the proposal to hold the bar exams outside Manila due to budgetary constraints but he also said the high court would study the proposal.

The Supreme Court also had apprehensions about the security of the test questions and the probability of leakages.

Law schools in Cebu City have been asking the high court to decentralize the bar exams and conduct the tests in other areas in the country to cut the costs for students outside Metro Manila.

UC College of Law Dean Baldomero Estenzo has been vocal about the need to hold the bar exams outside Manila.

“Going to Manila is really disadvantageous for examinees from the provinces, not only financially but also emotionally and psychologically,” he said.

Since 1903, the bar exams have always been held in Metro Manila.

Currently, the bar examination is being conducted in four Sundays of October at the University of Santo Tomas from the previous venue at De La Salle University, also in Manila.

Tags: Bar Examination , Education , Franklin Drilon , law , licensure examination , licensure tests , News , Philippine Congress , professional licensure examination , Regions , Senate , Supreme Court

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