By Jeffrey Damicog
More testing areas could be added in future bar examinations as this move is expected to alleviate the costs of going to Manila to take the tests, said Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvice Leonen on Saturday, May 2.
Leonen, who chairs the 2020 bar examination committee, pointed this out after having issued last April 29 Bar Bulletin No. 11.S.2020 which declared the postponement of the 2020 bar examinations and that the next bar examinations will be held in Manila and Cebu City.
“It is only now that they are going to try to hold it another site, which is in Visayas, without prejudice to the next bar exams after mine, to open it to perhaps in Mindanao and other places,” said Leonen during an online forum conducted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) about holding the exams in Cebu City.
“We (SC) unanimously agreed as an equity provision so that those that are coming from the Visayas and Mindanao need not more economic burdens than those in Metro Manila,” the magistrate explained.
Leonen said the move to hold the exams outside Manila is considered a landmark decision.
“For many I think this is a big deal because you know an applicant from the Visayas or Mindanao will tend to spend or shave hundreds of thousands of pesos in order to be able to take the bar,” he pointed out.
Leonen said there have been many proposals in past to have testing sites outside of Manila.
“Now it is technologically possible to actually simultaneously conduct the bar exams in different parts of the country,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Leonen advised those who were targeting to take the bar exams this year to take the opportunity because of the postponement “to study more and study well so that you will have the best bar ever conducted.”
Considering the ongoing pandemic, the magistrates also advised them to take care of themselves as well as their families.
“Only during World War 2 that the bar [exams] was postponed and I think the pandemic has the same degree of disruption as a world war,” he pointed out.
“There are a lot of people that have been infected and a lot of people have suffered, are casualties in this kind of pandemic,” he lamented.
“So we (SC) decided in order protect not only the bar applicants but also those that will participate in the logistical preparations to postpone the bar,” Leonen explained.
In the April 29 bar bulletin, Leonen said he will announce this June as to when the bar examinations will be held.
“We are waiting and seeing how science and technology progresses. How pharmacological solutions to this problem is evolved,” he stated.