By Oscar Franklin Tan
For the first time since returning home from abroad, one midnight I found myself back on the road with my well-used backpack. Instead of another mysterious foreign city, I was headed to St. Louis University in Baguio City. Instead of a frenetic backpacking weekend, my mission was to lecture on constitutional law.
One brilliant jurist knew the Rules of Court like the back of his hand. He was a much-sought-after practitioner whose services had been engaged to defend high-profile public officials like former chief justice Renato Corona. We saw him in action during the Corona impeachment trial. He made mincemeat of the prosecution’s case. Pundits agreed that had Corona stuck to the jurist’s game plan (i.e., to bite his tongue and not to testify before the senator-judges), his acquittal on grounds of reasonable doubt would have been a foregone conclusion. For, indeed, the jurist, with sheer mastery of the trial rules, had succeeded in having heaps of evidence against his client suppressed or excluded. But the chief justice believed so much in his own brilliance. Alas, his own testimonial theatrics removed many a lingering doubt about his guilt.
By Oscar Franklin Tan
This week, another batch of law students will have wasted an extra year of their lives to study for the month-long bar exam. This is in addition to four years of law school where every moment was defined by the bar. It is high time the Philippines got rid of its unique obsession with what was supposed to be a simple licensure exam that mutated into a rite of passage and national spectacle.
By Bianca Angelien Aban Claveria
Your heart starts to beat uncontrollably fast, and sweat beads slowly form and trickle down the sides of your face. Your hands slightly tremble, and your knees start to quiver. You cast a pleading look at your seat mate, who manages only a weak and helpless smile. With the remaining strength and pride left in you, you slowly lift your face to your professor, and say: I am sorry, sir, I don’t know the answer.
By Artemio V. Panganiban
The Bar Exam assesses the students’ knowledge of basic laws. Beyond the basics is the responsibility of law schools. By conducting the bar exam, the Supreme Court does not and cannot guarantee the applicants’ fitness and readiness to take on specialized fields, like law-of-the-sea, patent, or securities cases.