By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) decided on Tuesday, June 9, to hold via online video conferencing on June 25 the oath-taking of 2,103 new lawyers who passed the 2019 Bar examinations.
SC Spokesperson Atty. Brian Keith F. Hosaka said that the online oath-taking will be linked to a government television network for broadcast.
The release of the results of the 2019 Bar examinations was also done online by the SC on April 29, through its website (sc.judiciary.gov.ph) because of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that forced the government to declare a national health emergency and impose quarantines.
Hosaka said the SC decided to hold an online oath-taking because “the current health crisis has made it impossible to hold one the traditional way.” Existing government policies on public health, he adds, “particularly on mass gatherings” had to be taken into consideration.
But Hosaka said the SC “made it clear in its resolution that the unorthodox oath-taking was to be ‘pro hac vice,’” meaning “for this time only.”
“This means that due to the current pandemic, the resolution was to be exclusive only for the 2019 Bar passers,” he explained.
He also said that the SC, as a full court, “has authorized the Bar Confidant, under the guidance of the 2019 Bar Chairperson, Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, to perform all necessary acts, under existing rules, regulations, and resources, to carry out the oath taking as contemplated in the resolution.”
“The Office of the Bar Confidant will be making the necessary announcements on the details, guidelines, and instructions to the new lawyers for the online oath-taking,” he added.
The number of 2019 Bar passers represents 27.36 percent of the 7,685 law graduates who took the 2019 Bar examinations administered on November of last year.
Mae Diane M. Azores of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), formerly Aquinas University, in Legaspi City topped the examinations with a rating of 91.0490 percent.
The other top notchers are Princess Fatima T. Parahiman, University of the East, 2nd place, 89.5330 per cent; Myra M. Baranda, UST-Legaspi, 3rd , 88.8250; Dawna Fya O. Bandiola, San Beda College (Alabang), 4th , 88.3360; Jocelyn B. Fabello, Palawan State University, 5th, 88.2630; Kenneth Glenn L. Manuel, UST, 6th, 88.1730; Rhowee D Buergo, Jose Rizal University, 7th, 87.8710; Anton Luis A. Avila, Saint Louis University, 8th, 87.5820; Jun Dexter H. Rojas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 87.5765; and Bebelan A. Madera, University of St. La Salle, 10th, 87.3795.
The 2019 Bar examiners are Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria and former commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento for Political Law and Public International Law; Dean Salvador A. Poquiz and retired SC Justice Arturo D. Brion, Labor Law and Social Legislation; Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar Padilla and Dean Cynthia R. Del Castillo, Civil Law; Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao and Atty. Lily K. Gruba, Taxation; Associate Justice Maria Rowena G. Modesto San Pedro and Atty. Francisco Ed Lim, Mercantile Law; Judge Selma P. Alaras and Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr., Criminal Law; Associate Justice Maria Filomena D. Singh and Assistant Solicitor General Marissa Macaraig Guillen, Remedial Law; and Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza Arcega and Commissioner Pablo C. Espiritu, Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises.