Bar examinees urged: Become people's lawyers, human rights defenders

MANILA, Philippines – As thousands of aspiring lawyers take the Philippine bar examinations starting Sunday, November 5, a human rights lawyers' group hope that they consider joining their advocacy once they hurdle the bar.

In an open letter, the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) called on bar examinees to "join the ranks of people's lawyers and human rights defenders."

The NUPL said that it is "the best time" for lawyers to "to immerse with the many cases of human rights violations on the ground." (READ: Lawyers do dirty groundwork to fight Duterte’s drug war)

They point toward the spike in alleged extrajudicial killings under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the martial law in Mindanao, and the bloody war on drugs.

The law profession, NUPL argued, "can only be truly noble if dedicated to the struggle of the people." (READ: Failure of the legal system: A challenge to Filipino lawyers)

"Despite the lingering image, rightly or wrongly, of lawyers as mercenaries and opportunists consumed by material wealth, power or ambition, there are those who stand out and make a difference by being upright, competent and selfless. We are confident you know where you deserve to be. We are waiting for you," the group added.

The bar examinations will take place over 4 Sundays starting November 5, with results coming out around May 2018. (READ: 19 cases of drug war deaths filed in court – DOJ)

The examinations have been known to be one of the most difficult professional admission examinations, but the recent round of tests has yielded the highest number of passers in decades.

Read the full text of NUPL's open letter below:

Rappler.com