By Martin Sadongdong
The first day of the 2018 Bar Examinations held on Sunday at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Espana Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila went peaceful as the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) stated they have not monitored any security threat so far.
A total of 434 cops were deployed by the NCRPO, mostly from the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 4, in all entrance and exit points of the University, according to NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar. They are expected to secure the area for the whole duration of the examinations set on November 4, 11, 18 and 25.
“Itong mga susunod na Sunday, ganito ang magiging sitwasyon dahil nga napakaraming mga examinees, 8,701 to be exact ang pupunta rito para sa kanilang examination for the Bar entrance exams. Nakahanda ang ating kapulisan and we’re deploying more than 400 police personnel to ensure na hindi magkakaroon ng kaguluhan (For the upcoming Sundays, this will be the situation because a lot of examinees, 8,701 to be exact, are expected to troop here for the Bar exams. Our police force is ready and we’re deploying more than 400 personnel to ensure that there will be no untoward incident),” said Eleazar, who personally inspected the security in the area.
He said they have not received intelligence information about any security threat but added they will be on alert for any eventualities.
“Wala tayong natatanggap na threat pero iba kasi kapag handang-handa. It will give a strong signal, una sa mga examinees at kanilang pamilya, na sila ay ligtas. At the same time, ito ay magsisilbing babala sa mga mag-a-attempt na gumawa ng kalokohan na hindi nila magagawa ‘yan (No threat has been reported but it’s better if we are prepared. It will give a strong signal, first to the examinees and their families, that they are safe. At the same time, this will serve as a warning to those who will attempt to do harm to others that they will not be successful,” he explained.
The NCRPO chief said they should learn from the past where violent incidents were recorded during the conduct of Bar examinations.
He cited what happened in 2010 where a grenade exploded during the fourth and last Sunday of the examinations, injuring several law students.
In 2014, Eleazar recalled that two fraternity groups also caused a scene on the second Sunday of the examinations when they engaged in a brawl. That same year, a theft incident was also recorded by the police on the fourth Sunday of the examinations.
Meanwhile, in 2015, Eleazar said a suspicious package was thrown to groups of supporters while a vehicle was left in the vicinity of the University which caused panic among examinees, their families and supporters.
“Kaya ang ginawa natin ngayon, aside from deploying personnel, meron din tayong K9 dogs na magche-check to ensure na walang panganib hindi lang sa mga mag-eexam kundi pati na rin sa kanilang mga supporters, UST visitors at administration (So now, aside from deploying personnel, we also have K9 dogs to ensure that there are no dangers not only to the examinees but also to their supporters, the UST visitors and administration),” he underscored.
Eleazar asked the public to bear with the police if the security is being too tight as he said it is for their own good.
“Sa ngayon, itong loob ng UST compound ay para lang sa mga mag-eexam. They can access the gate in Lacson and P. Noval but merong mga pulis na nagbabantay doon (Right now, only the examinees can go to the UST compound. They can access the gate in Lacson and P. Noval [Streets] but there are also policemen securing the area there),” he noted.
Bringing and drinking liquor is also prohibited as Eleazar said cops have started going around stores near the University proper, reminding the owners not to sell beverages.
“Bawal na starting kagabi hanggang (It’s prohibited starting Saturday night until) Sunday and that will be repeated sa buong apat na (in the four) Sundays ng buwan (of the month). The personnel of MPD Station 4 are doing clearing operations for the duration of this month,” he concluded.