The Supreme Court has justified its decision to impose over 100 percent hike in its bar application fees from P4,500 to P10,000 this year.
Court Administrator Midas Marquez admitted before the House Committee on Appropriations that the 2020/2021 bar examination fees have indeed increased for the qualifying test for would-be lawyers that will be held in November this year.
Marquez, who briefed solons on the judiciary’s 2022 budget proposal, explained the decision to raise the fees was triggered by the increase in operational expenses for the conduct of the Bar that will now be dispersed in at least 20 regional venues throughout the country.
He pointed out that the SC will have to pay the license fees for computer programs that would maintain the integrity of the examination despite being conducted on-line.
ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro raised the question on the big jump in examination fees, saying that this has been the concern of many law graduates who are scheduled to take the November examinations.
Marquez explained that the next bar will be held on-line. He stressed that examination takers will be saving more in expenses because regional examination sites will be established.
“Before this 2021 examination, ang bar exams natin ay dito sa Maynila ginagawa. Itong huli ay sa UST, sa La Salle. (our bar exams are held here in Manila. The last time was at UST, at La Salle). Ngayon (Now) we will have at least 20 sites nationwide,” the High Court official explained.
He pointed out that examinees will no longer have to go to Manila and be burdened with additional expenses of renting temporary lodging during the four successive Sundays of tests.
“Kung taga-Mindanao kayo, taga-Cagayan de Oro, taga-Davao po kayo, hindi na kayo kailangan lumipad dito sa Metro Manila at gumastos ng malaki for one month (If you’re from Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro or Davao, you need not fly to Metro Manila and spend much),” stated Marquez.
“You can stay in your rexpective regions because we will have regional sites for the bar examinations,” he added.
The Bar examinations will proceed as scheduled on Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28 after the High Court cancelled the 2020 Bar due to the public health dangers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the judiciary launched the Bar Personalized Loging Unified System (Bar PLUS) website to facilitate application for the 2020/2021 Bar examinations.
Applicants were asked to pay bar application fee via over-the-counter cash deposit in the Landbank of the Philippines branches nationwide.