Dubbed as the biggest Bar ever, the 2020/2021 Bar Examinations in November will be done in remote places across the country, and the first confirmed site is St. Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City.
The Supreme Court en banc traveled to Baguio to personally sign the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with SLU on Thursday, July 8.
There may be a total of 25 remote testing sites across the country, the Court’s Public Information Office (PIO) said on Friday, July 9.
“There are already 16 local testing centers that have agreed to the MOA based on the template approved by the Supreme Court en banc,” said Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the Bar chairman.
Among them are Cagayan State University, University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, University of Cebu-Banilad, Ateneo de Davao University, Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
Due to the pandemic, the Bar Examinations were canceled in 2020. Law graduates who were supposed to take the 2020 Bar can take the Bar this year alongside the graduates of 2021, thus making it the biggest Bar ever, a wordplay on Leonen’s “Best Bar Ever.”
It is a historic move as until this year, the Bar had always been taken in one site only, usually a university in Manila – the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in recent years.
To localize it further, the Supreme Court announced that there would be a Bar Plus portal so those applying to take the Bar need not go to the Office of the Bar Confidant at the Supreme Court in Manila to pass their requirements.
“Using Bar Plus, Bar Examinations applicants will be able to submit their personal details, access the necessary forms for their application, upload petition requirements and pay for their application digitally,” said the Supreme Court.
Bar applicants will also be able to choose their preferred site, “subject to the approval of the Office of the Bar Confidant.”
As previously announced, the Bar will be digitized, but not remote, meaning Bar takers will do the examinations on their own laptops.
“Each classroom is positioned following the guidelines of the COVID-19 inter-agency task force,” the Supreme Court said.
The Bar Examinations will be held, as per tradition on all Sundays of November – 7, 14, 21 and 28.
Needless to say, the Bar Examinations is a go, contrary to often-recurring rumors that it has been canceled.
Responding to the statement of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that Bar and Board Examinations should be scrapped, Leonen said: “The Supreme Court has not suspended the Bar exam. We are full throttle in terms of preparing this.”
Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo likewise said: “I don’t see the need to abolish the Bar exam. We must continue having the Bar exam.”
“Aside from the tradition, it is important that we make sure that those who join the legal profession are competent, that they can, you know, perform their duties as lawyers, not only to the court but also to their clients and to society as a whole,” added Gesmundo. – Rappler.com