Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court has suspended for a month without pay a Court of Appeals clerk who brought a digital camera and took snapshots of questionnaires when he proctored during the 2011 bar examinations.
The court en banc found Melchor Tiongson, head watcher of the 2011 bar exams held at the University of Santo Tomas campus, guilty of simple misconduct for violating instructions given by the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC).
He was also permanently disqualified from serving in all future bar exams.
According to a decision dated April 1, which was uploaded last week on the Supreme Court website, Tiongson brought a digital camera on Nov. 13, 2011, the second Sunday of the exams.
He was seen by other watchers taking pictures of the questionnaires on civil law and mercantile law. One of the watchers reported the incident to the office of the OBC chief, lawyer Ma. Cristina Layusa.
Layusa revoked Tiongson’s designation as head watcher for the remainder of the exams and conducted an investigation. He was administratively charged for violating instructions to the head watchers against the bringing of cameras and electronic gadgets to the exams.
Tiongson apologized for his violation and admitted bringing his camera inside the exam room. He said he did not surrender it to the badge counter because he was worried that the people there might be negligent in handling the gadget.
The OBC found Tiongson guilty of dishonesty and gross misconduct, but the Supreme Court lowered the offense to just simple misconduct.
“As Court of Appeals employee, Tiongson disregarded his duty to uphold the strict standards required of every court employee, that is, to be an example of integrity, uprightness and obedience to the judiciary. Thus, he must be reminded that his infraction was unbecoming of a court employee amounting to simple misconduct,” the court said in a six-page ruling written by Justice Antonio Carpio.