Leonen dismisses Bello proposal to abolish board exams
The annual bar exams will be pushing through in November, Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has assured law graduates as he dismissed the proposal of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to do away with the licensure exams for aspiring lawyers.
“[The] Supreme Court has not suspended the bar exam. We are [at] full throttle in terms of preparing [for] this,” Leonen said on Thursday at the signing of a historic memorandum of agreement between the high tribunal and the Saint Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City.
SLU has been selected as one of the 16 local testing centers around the country for this year’s bar examinations, which will be held during the four Sundays of November.
The magistrates had decided to cancel the bar exams last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leonen, the chair of the bar exams, said that while he respected Bello’s views, only the high court has jurisdiction over the conduct of the professional exams for law graduates.
“I would like to clarify, and every law student and applicant should know this: The bar exam is conducted by the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
“[Bello] is honorable, very well-respected. He is even my friend. And had it been his bar [exam], I know that he would have taken advantage of this program. I know where he came from,” he added.
Even Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo was not supportive of Bello’s position as he pointed out that requiring law graduates to pass the bar exams would ensure competency among law practitioners.
“The legal profession is vested with public interest,” Gesmundo said.
Bello, who finished his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1970, on Wednesday said he would propose the abolition of board exams for nurses, lawyers, engineers and dentists, claiming the years they spent to complete their courses were enough for them to practice their profession.
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