Let's regionalize the venue of the bar exams to better serve the poor examinees.

Lawyers to Supreme Court: Hold Bar exams in Cebu | Sun.Star Network Online

see: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/network/local-news/lawyers-sc-hold-bar-exams-cebu

Lawyers to SC: Hold Bar exams in Cebu
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CEBU CITY -- Councilors from two cities, a judge and a lawyers’ association revived calls to hold Bar exams in Cebu, not just to make it more affordable for applicants, but also to keep them safe.

“This deplorable incident should be an occasion for the Supreme Court to reexamine the feasibility of the long-existing clamor to extend the venue of the Bar examinations to the Visayas, so as to reduce thousands of examinees in one venue to a more manageable number,” said Cebu City Councilor Edgardo Labella, in a draft resolution.

Aside from addressing safety concerns, holding the exam in Cebu will also lessen the financial burden on the examinees from the Visayas and Mindanao, who have to spend at least P100,000 to attend bar review classes and the month-long exams in Manila each September, he said.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter will consider passing a resolution requesting the Supreme Court to hold Bar exams outside Manila.

“We have supported the bringing of the Bar exams to Cebu due to financial and morale reasons. But with the security risk in Manila, where a small area is congested with human traffic and rowdy revelers, we will add that to our grounds to bring the exams to Cebu,” said lawyer Michael Yu, IBP Cebu City chapter president.

“We can’t afford to place our examinees in harm’s way, especially that most have made many sacrifices just to become lawyers,” Yu said.

Talisay City Councilor Romeo Villarante, a lawyer, said technology can be used to safeguard the test questions, should the exams be decentralized.

Holding the Bar exams in Cebu “will ease the burden on the examinees’ part of spending too much in Manila,” said Villarante, a 1994 law graduate from the University of San Jose-Recoletos.

Cebu City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes called for a “thorough and fair investigation” on Jed Carlo Lazaga, the USJ-R law student whose name has been linked to last Sunday’s blast.

Lazaga’s teachers said he was falsely accused by a group from a rival fraternity.

Paredes, also a law professor at the University of San Carlos, was in Manila along with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama at the time of the blast.

He recalled that after the explosion, the crowd had no immediate reaction and continued partying outside De La Salle University on Taft Ave.

Lawyers and law students alike have revived the calls for the SC to decentralize the bar exams following the explosion.

The law school deans of various universities have asked the Supreme Court to allow the holding of Bar examinations outside Manila, like the cities of Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Baguio, Judge Paredes said.

The proposals have focused, so far, on helping applicants cut expenses.

At City Hall Tuesday, Mayor Rama made an appointment with the USJ-R College of Law officials, to ask how one of their students was dragged into the incident.

He said it is not fair to Cebu and USJ-R that one of its students was blamed.

“That allegation has to be carefully looked into because they cannot just make any assumption, I don’t know what their basis is for that. That’s why I would like to meet with USJ-R. I’d like to know because it’s not good that Cebu and a local university will be highlighted, when the real responsibility should have been of the organizers who put the activity together,” Rama said.

The mayor was across the site of the blast with his son when it happened.

Labella, in his draft resolution, said the blast and stampede that followed are an indirect result of the failure of security protocols for more than 5,000 examinees.

“Considering proper safeguards and precautions, and considering that adding to the mental and physical exhaustion of examinees outside Luzon are also financial pressures in having to take the Bar exams in Manila, where commodities, and board-and-lodging rates are much higher than in their home provinces, the holding of simultaneous Bar examinations in Manila and the Visayas, particularly Cebu City, is highly feasible,” Labella added.

(LCR/GMD/GC/Sun.Star Cebu)
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