Supreme Court issues TRO vs nat'l law school entrance test PhilSAT
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the enforcement of the national law school entrance test Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT), two sources confirmed to Rappler.
The source said the TRO was issued on Friday, March 15, against the memorandum of the Legal Education Board (LEB) that prohibits law schools from accepting students who failed the PhilSAT, which piloted only in 2017.
While the main case is pending, law schools may accept students based only on their own requirements.
The Supreme Court confirmed the TRO on Monday, March 18.
"The Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court," said the 2-page resolution.
The resolution added: "Those who have not taken the PhilSAT prior to the beginning of the Academic Year 2018 to 2019, or who have taken the PhilSAT but did not pass, or are honor graduates in college with no PhilSAT Exemption Certificate, or honor graduates with expired PhilSAT Exemption Certificates may now be allowed to conditionally enroll as incoming freshmen law students under the same terms as LEB Memorandum Order No. 11, series of 2017."
LEB Memorandum Order No. 11 series of 2017 provided for PhilSAT exemptions on the condition that the student writes an undertaking that he or she will take the next scheduled PhilSAT.
The High Court stays to resolve petitions seeking to declare the PhilSAT unconstitutional. The petitions also want to declare the law that created the LEB unconstitutional.
The Court heard the petitions in oral arguments on March 5, where LEB chairman Emerson Aquende admitted that no study was conducted before they created and enforced PhilSAT.
Aquende said he has not been officially notified of the TRO yet as of Saturday morning.
"However, the LEB is duty bound to always abide by the orders of the the courts, especially the SC," he told Rappler in a text message on Saturday, March 16.
During the oral arguments, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen raised the concern that the nationwide test under the control of the state may infringe on academic freedom.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said PhilSAT violates people’s right to know, as some aspiring law students do not necessarily want to become lawyers.
The petitions argue that creating the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT) violates Section 5(e), Article XIV, of the Constitution that guarantees the right to “a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic requirements.” – Rappler.com