THE Supreme Court (SC) is set to hold a special en banc session on Friday for the release of the results of the 2009 Bar examinations.

Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the justices will meet in the morning of Friday to deliberate on the passing percentage of barristers who will be admitted in the Roll of Attorneys.

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A total of 5,903 law graduates from 109 law schools nationwide participated in the Bar exams last year, which were held in the four Sundays of September at the De La Salle University on Taft Avenue, Manila.

The last day of the 2009 Bar exams, however, was reset on October 4 due to the flooding brought by Typhoon Ondoy.

Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, chairperson of the 2009 Committee on Bar Examinations, said the list of the names will be displayed in LCD projectors to be strategically displayed at the Supreme Court (SC) front yard near its Padre Faura entrance.

The results can also be viewed simultaneously at the High Court’s official website, sc.judiciary.gov.ph.

The 2009 Bar exams marked the first time that not one but two examiners were designated as examiners in each of the eight Bar examination subjects. Thus, every Bar subject would be divided into two parts, with each designated examiner assigned a specific scope.

In February last year, the SC, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters, approved the proposal of Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Atty. Ma. Cristina Layusa to designate two examiners for each of the eight Bar subjects.

“Thus, the test for each Bar subject will have two parts, to be checked by the respective designated examiners assigned a specific scope,” said Layusa.

The SC has tasked more than 1,372 personnel, including building coordinators, superintendents, supervisors, head watchers, watchers, bar assistants, and special assistants to help ensure the successful conduct of the exams.

But Marquez said the two-examiner policy would really not necessarily translate to a speedier counter-checking of the names of examinees by the OBC.

The Rules of Court provide that “a candidate may be deemed to have passed his examination successfully if he has obtained a general average of 75 percent in all subjects without falling below 50 percent in any subject.”

In determining the average, subjects in the examinations are given the following relative weights: Political and International Law, 15 percent; Labor and Social Legislation, 10 percent; Civil Law, 15 percent; Taxation, 10 percent; Mercantile Law, 15 percent; Criminal Law, 10 percent; Remedial Law, 20 percent; and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, 5 percent, for a total of 100 percent.

The first Bar exams were held in 1901, with 13 examinees. In the 2008 Bar exams, only 1,310 out of 6,364 examinees passed the exams, or just 20.58 percent.

Meanwhile, the Court en banc approved the proposed amendments to Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allowing Filipino graduates of foreign law schools to take the Philippine Bar, subject to certain conditions.

Former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza on March 9 made the proposal to the Court to amend Rule 183 of the Rules of Court.

Section 5 of the Rule now provides that before being admitted to the examination, all applicants for admission to the bar shall satisfactorily show that they have successfully completed all the prescribed courses for the degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent degree in a law school or university officially recognized by the Philippine Government or by the proper authority in the foreign jurisdiction where the degree has been granted.

The new provision also provides that a Filipino citizen “who graduated from a foreign law school shall be admitted to the bar examination only upon submission to the Supreme Court of certifications showing: (a) completion of all courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent degree; (b) recognition or accreditation of the law school by the proper authority; and (c) completion of all fourth year subjects in the Bachelor of Laws academic program in a law school duly recognized by the Philippine Government.”

A Filipino citizen who completed and obtained his or her degree in Bachelor of Laws or its equivalent in a foreign law school must also present proof of completion of a separate bachelor’s degree. (JCV/Sunnex)