Law schools ask SC to consider 'remote signing' of the Roll of Attorneys by new lawyers

Published June 28, 2020, 7:54 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Rey Panaligan

The Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow new lawyers to sign the Roll of Attorneys in their areas because of the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Earlier, the SC had announced that the signing of the Roll of Attorneys, the last step to becoming a full-fledged lawyer, would be done from July 6 to Aug. 3 at the SC offices on Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

Supreme Court of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN)
Supreme Court of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN)

Last June 25, a total of 2,103 new lawyers, who passed the 2019 Bar Examinations, took their oaths online via video conferencing, the first in the history of the country’s process of admitting new lawyers into the practice of law.

The release of the results of the 2019 Bar Examinations was also done online by the SC last April 29 through its website – due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the government to declare a national health emergency and impose quarantine.

In a letter to Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, the PALS said the signing of the roll that was ordered by the SC to be done in Manila “would pose additional burden and risks to the new lawyers.”

“May we suggest the following options for the consideration of the Honorable Court: Signing of the Roll of Attorneys before the Presiding Justice or Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City, signing of the Roll of Attorneys before the Deputy Court Administrators in the Visayas and Mindanao, and signing of the Roll of Attorneys before the executive judges in all Regional Trial Courts,” the group said.

The group added: “Health considerations and quarantine constraints present restrictions to travel and accommodations for our Bar passers. Additional level of requirements through the securing of medical certificates from the Department of Health, travel permits from the local health departments, as well as the need to take rapid or other virus detection tests impose further undue burdens.”

The issuance of the roll numbers for the new lawyers, the group explained, should be done through the justices, judges, or court officials who will supervise the signing.