The Supreme Court (SC) will not announce top 10 passers for the 2020-2021 Bar examinations. They released a Bar bulletin that’s 11 pages long, sharing that given the pandemic, it will be “inequitable to adhere to exacting, minute distinction for exemplary performance.” This is a first for the SC as they break a longstanding tradition.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chairperson of the 2020-2021 Bar exams, said the justices “decided to be more inclusive in how it recognizes exemplary performance by forgoing the traditional Top 10.”
Leonen also highlighted that the whole point of exams is to make sure the examinee has minimum knowledge needed to actually become a lawyer. “It is no race or competition. Neither will it predict who among the examinees will become the best qualified within their batch, the better lawyer, the more relevant practitioner, or the more compassionate individual.”
Not recognizing the top 10 passers would only apply to the Bar exams for 2020-2021. It’s meant for them to be held at two dozen (24) testing sites nationwide over November’s four Sundays. The SC hopes that their shift to law schools instead of particular students will encourage “deep-seated and wide ranging improvements in legal education.”
Listing of the schools will be done according to most to least percentage of passers amongst examinees for the first time. According to the SC, the passing score has since been lowered to 75 percent. However, they will still recognize those whose weighted average score is over 85 percent for “exemplary performance”.
“The names of examinees who earned recognition for exemplary performance shall be made publicly available simultaneously with the list of passers, through the same media,” Leonen said. “Apart from this, no fanfare shall be devoted in releasing information on examinees who rendered exemplary performance.”
Statistics relating to non-passers or people who did not finish will be given to the law schools instead of being made public.
According to Court spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka, “anyone who is qualified to take the Bar exams in November 2021 will be allowed to take it regardless of what year they graduated.” Back in 2020 Bar examinations were canceled by the Supreme Court after the Philippines got hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.