Peralta says SC 'considering' online Bar exams next year
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta leads the Judiciary in attending the virtual Senate Budget Hearing presided over by Senator Sonny Angara, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, held on Thursday afternoon, September 24, 2020.
SC Public Information Office/released

Peralta says SC 'considering' online Bar exams next year

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - September 24, 2020 - 5:41pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:10 p.m.) — The next Bar examinations may be held online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta told senators on Thursday.

During the Judiciary’s budget hearing at the Senate, Sen, Francis Tolentino asked the chief justice whether the SC is looking into conducting the next Bar exams online, noting that this was done in some parts of the United States.

“We are thinking of that. We are considering that,” Peralta said.

Bar exams are traditionally held during the four Sundays of November each year at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. But the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine protocols enforced across the country to curb its spread pushed back the conduct of the exams.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen earlier, chairperson of the 2020/21 Bar Examinations, earlier said that he received a green light to look into pilot testing of computerized Bar exams.

He said what the his team has been studying "the possibility of conducting online but proctored bar exams or a mix of online and written exams in more than two places as part of bar reform."

He added, however, that the team has yet to make a firm proposal for it until potential logistical and security issues are worked out.

"I am also in constant consultation with members of the Court and the bar chairs that will succeed me in 2022, 2023 and 2024," he said.

Three sites for Bar exams

The chief justice also said they plan to hold the 2021 Bar examinations simultaneously in three sites: Manila in Luzon, Cebu in the Visayas, and in a to be determined place in Mindanao.

Next year’s Bar will be the first time the licensure exam will be conducted outside the nation’s capital.

Earlier in September, the SC announced that the next Bar examinations will be conducted in November 2020. Law graduates in 2020 and 2021 will be allowed to apply for this batch of Bar applicants.

“Ang mangyayari dyan, magkakasabay yung ano those who are supposed to take it in 2020 will now take the bar exams November 2021,” Peralta said.

In his message to reporters, Leonen said: "Definitely, the bar examinations will not be conducted as it was before.  We have to embrace a better normal that is safe, effective and equitable taking advantage of the best digital formats while at the same time acknowledging issues of security and accessibility for some bar applicants."

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