The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
RE: Cancellation of re-examination in Mercantile Law, 2003 BAR OPERATIONS

Republic of the Philippines




Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated 29 SEPTEMBER 2003

In its resolution, dated 23 September 2003, the Court, acting on the report and recommendation by the Chairman of the 2003 Bar Examinations Committee concerning the examination conducted on the morning of September 21, 2003 on the subject of Mercantile Law, resolved to: (a) NULLIFY the examination on this subject, in view of the Court's findings which affect the integrity of the examination in Mercantile Law; (b) HOLD another examination in Mercantile Law on Saturday October 4, 2003, at eight o'clock in the evening (being the earliest available time and date), at the same venue (De La Salle University, Taft Avenue, Manila.)

Before the Court are the following:

1) MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION/PETITION filed by Dean Romulo V. Borja, Chairman, Dean Andres D. Bautista, President, Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr., Secretary General and Dean Antonio H. Abad, Jr., Past President; represented by the Philippine Association of Law Schools

2) URGENT PETITION TO RECONSIDER THE EN BANC RESOLUTION OF THE SURPEME COURT IN RE: NULLIFICATION OF 2003 MERCANTILE LAW EXAMINATIONS filed by petitioners Mr. Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., Agusto Bacoling, Ferdinand A. Castillo and Froilan Roger C. Lawilao.

3) LETTER, dated 26 September 2003, of Professor Antonio R. Tupaz

4) LETTER, dated 29 September 2003, of Bantay Katarungan signed by former ambassador Sedfrey A. Ordonez, Chairman, Former Senator Jovito R. Salonga, Adviser and Trustee and Professor Florin T. Hilbay, Supervising Lawyer

5) LETTER, dated 29 September 2003, of Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza

6) LETTER, dated 25 September 2003, of Dean Reynaldo L. Suarez, College of Law, University of the East

The Court has observed that although petitioners/movants have agreed to the nullification of the bar examinations in Mercantile Law, they, however, have expressed strong reservations against the holding of another examination on the subject. Various reasons have been advanced, viz:

  • "It cannot be denied that there are thousands of bar examinees who come from Visayas and Mindanao and other far flung areas of the Philippines. These bar examinees were prepared physically, emotionally, and financially to stay in the City of Manila only for four weeks."
  • "To extend the examinations for another week will not only drain the bar examinees physically and emotionally but will cause them and their families undue financial hardship in maintaining themselves in the City of Manila for board and lodging and other expenses attendant thereto."
  • "The leakage in Mercantile Law, in all probability, could have benefited only a few of the bar examinees, considering that only a few schools were perceived to have been in possession of the leaked bar examinations questions."
  • "It is the considered opinion of the petitioners/movants that the bar examinations in the seven subjects excluding Mercantile Law) will suffice to test the competence and probity of the bar examinees to become bona fide members of the bar."
  • "In a meeting/referendum held by the Philippine Association of Law Schools, where the subject of this petition/motion was voted upon by the Deans of law schools present, the results of the voting were as follows:
In favor of the petition/motion- 40
Against the petition/motion- 3
Abstain- 3"

x           x           x

As an alternative solution to the problem, it has been proposed that:

"(1) the order of the Court requiring a re-examination be withdrawn; and

(2) the results of the bar examinations be measured on the basis of the performance of the examinees in the seven other examinations OR the weight of Mercantile Law be spread out among the seven other examinations.

"We believe this to be the just solution because: (1) the results of the seven other examinations will still furnish sufficient basis for judging whether or not a particular examinee has the minimum skills required for the practice of law; (2) it will save the Court a considerable amount of time, money, and effort in conducting another examination; 3) it will save bar examinees an equally considerable amount of time, money, and effort in taking an extra exam which they never anticipated and should not be held responsible for."

Acting on the foregoing and finding merit in the above submissions, the Court, after deliberations, resolved to grant the various petitions seeking to cancel the scheduled bar examination for Mercantile Law on October 4, 2003 and, in lieu thereof, to allocate among the seven other subjects in the Bar Examinations the fifteen percent weight of Mercantile Law.

WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVED to cancel the holding of the scheduled examination in Mercantile Law on October 4, 2003 as ordered in the Resolution of September 23, 2003 and to allocate the fifteen percentage points for Mercantile Law among the remaining seven (7) bar examination subjects.

The Court further RESOLVED to create a Committee composed of three retired members of the Court that shall conduct a thorough investigation on the incident subject of the September 23, 2003 resolution. The Committee shall submit its report and recommendation not later than December 15, 2003.

Corona and Azcuna, JJ., on leave.

Very truly yours,

Clerk of Court
BY:           (Sgd.)
Assistant Clerk of Court

Honorable Jose C. Vitug (x)
Associate Justice and Chairman
2003 Bar Examinations
Supreme Court
Atty. Ma. Cristina B. Layusa (x)
Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant
Supreme Court
Dean Romulo V. Borja (x)
College of Law
Xavier University
Dean Reynaldo L. Suarez (x)
College of Law
University of the East
Recto Avenue, Manila
Dean Andres D. Bautista (x)
College of Law
Far Eastern University
Dean Virgilio Jara (x)
College of Law
San Beda College
Mendiola, Manila
Dean Mariano F. Magsalin, Jr. (x)
Arellano University School of Law
Antonio R. Tupaz (x)
Leandro B. Yangol, Jr. (x)
c/o Office of the Bar Confidant
Supreme Court
Dean Antonio H. Abad, Jr. (x)
College of Law
Adamson University
Philippine Association of Law Schools [PALS]
Chairman Sedfrey A. Ordo˝ez (x)
Bantay Katarungan
c/o Office of the Bar Confidant
Supreme Court
Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza (x)
c/o Office of the Bar Confidant
Supreme Court

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation