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Hundreds unable to take Bar exam due to Covid, policy violations

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 09:15 AM Mon Feb 7, 2022
Marita Moaje/PNA
DAY 2. Bar examinees have their temperature checked before entering the Saint Louis University testing center in Baguio City on Sunday (Feb. 6, 2022). The exam was held in 31 testing sites in 22 local government units. (Photo courtesy of PIA-Cordillera)

MANILA – The two-day Bar Examination ended on Sunday but not all 11,790 who paid application fees showed up in the 31 local testing sites in 22 local government units.

The Office of the Bar Chairperson said Sunday at least 219 tested positive for Covid-19 while a still undetermined number of examinees were disqualified for violating policies and the Honor Code.

The number of positive tests is based on the antigen tests administered by the Supreme Court (SC) and the examinees who disclosed their results.

Bar Bulletin No. 39 signed by Bar chairperson, SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, stated that among the violations were non-disclosure of previous positive Covid-19 test results, bringing in mobile phones inside the examination rooms, and accessing social media within the testing center premises during the one-and-a-half hour lunch break.

The disqualification applies this year only, the first time the Bar was held after two years due to the pandemic.

“Do not lose hope. Your time will come,” Leonen told those who tested positive for Covid-19.

As for those who were caught violating policies, Leonen advised them to reflect on what they have done.

“Know that you can still change your narrative. You will not end up as the examinee who lost your honor forever in your desperation to pass the examination. Learn from your mistake and earn your honor back,” he wrote.

Leonen said he owes it to those who risked their lives for the 2020/2021 Bar exam to push through despite all odds, according to Leonen.

The exam started on Friday with 11,378 examinees.

At least 12 examinees were allowed to take the examination in the traditional handwritten format while one examinee who is afflicted with a disease that disabled his hands was aided by a stenographer who encoded his answers.

It marked the first time that the Bar was held in multiple venues, shortened to two days instead of the usual four, and conducted digitally with examinees bringing their own laptops and downloading questions from a secured online application.

The exam was supposed to be held on January 16, 23, 30, and February 6 but was shortened and rescheduled to January 23 and 25 due to the pandemic and the effects of December's Typhoon Odette in the provinces.

High incidence of positive Covid-19 cases and those in quarantine among examinees and Bar personnel forced the SC to move it yet again to February 4 and 6. (PNA)

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