By Jeffrey Damicog, Martin Sadongdong, and Erma Edera
Close to 9,000 law graduates will be taking this year’s four-Sunday bar examinations which begin today at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.
The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) Office of the Confidant announced that 8,701 examinees have applied to take the bar examinations which had been set on the dates November 4, 11, 18, and 25.
“This is the highest number of Bar candidates in recent years,” the SC said in a statement.
There were 6,831 examinees who took the 2016 bar exams and 6,748 in the 2017 bar exams.
November 4 – Political and International Law (8 a.m. to 12 noon); Labor Law and Social Legislation (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
November 11 – Civil Law (8 a.m. to 12 noon); Taxation Law (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
November 18 – Mercantile Law (8 a.m. to 12 noon); Criminal Law (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
November 25 – Remedial Law (8 a.m. to 12 noon); Legal and Judicial Ethics and Practical Exercises (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
The SC said 10 buses shall be available to transport examinees and duty personnel to UST from several pick-up points and will be stationed as early as 4:30 a.m. The first trip to UST leaves at 5 a.m.
These pick-up points are Quezon City Memorial Circle near Philippine Coconut Authority (two buses); Park and Ride, Lawton, Manila (one bus); SC New Building Compound, Taft Avenue (two buses); Greenbelt and Glorietta, Ayala Center, Makati (two buses); and Marikina Sports Complex (one bus).
The SC reminded only Bar examinees and duty personnel are allowed to ride the shuttle buses, and boarding shall be on a first-come, first-served basis.
To avail of this service, they must present their Notice of Admission, Gate Pass and/or identification cards, as the case may be, to the bus driver before being allowed to board.
Meanwhile, motorists are advised to take alternate routes as several roads and thoroughfares in Manila leading to UST shall be closed.
The Manila Police District’s (MPD’s) Traffic Enforcement Unit (DTEU) said the westbound lane of España Boulevard from A. H. Lacson Avenue to P. Noval Street will be closed from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on all the Sundays of the Bar exams.
All southbound vehicles shall take A. H. Lacson Avenue straight to Nagtahan to their point of destination, while vehicles along the westbound lane of España shall turn right at A.H. Lacson, then left to Laong-Laan to A. Mendoza going to their point of destination.
Parking will be strictly prohibited on the streets along España Boulevard, A.H. Lacson Avenue, Dapitan Street, and P. Noval Street.
The SC has set up contingency plans for examinees and duty personnel in the event of heavy rains and flooding during the examination dates.
Today, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecast generally good weather with easterlies bringing warm air, cloudy skies and only possible rainshowers.
Should there be flooding at UST, the SC prepared commuter vans which will transport examinees and duty personnel to their respective examination buildings before and after the exams during the examination dates.
However, senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disability (PWDs) shall be prioritized in the use of the commuter vans.
For the four Sundays of November, 434 policemen from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will be fielded in the vicinity of UST, said Director Guillermo Eleazar.
“The Annual Bar Exams are milestones in our yearly calendar. The police will uphold the importance of these days and protect the significance of these days to our country’s judicial system,” Eleazar said.
“We will exhaust all efforts to ensure peace and order for the sake of the examinees and their families,” he added.
The NCRPO Chief said the police intelligence community has not monitored any threat on security, but this will not mean security will be lax since there stands a record of violence in the Philippine Bar Examinations in the past.
Chief Superintendent Rolando Anduyan, MPD director, said police personnel deployed for security have “doubled their efforts and heightened the level of security on several points of convergence.”
Anduyan called for public vigilance to aid security their security efforts. “If you notice any unusual activity or suspicious-looking persons, please immediately report it to the authorities,” he said.
Eleazar reminded all examinees, their relatives and friends, and all residents near the University that a liquor ban is being implemented starting Saturday, the eve of the exams, until the whole of Sunday.
“Violators will be brought to the police precincts and booked accordingly,” he said.