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Saturday, March 29, 2008

1,289 or 22.91% of Examinees Pass Bar Exams

A total of 1,289 have passed the 2007 bar examinations, the Supreme Court announced on Saturday afternoon, making for a 22.91 percent passing rate as 5,626 law graduates from 109 law schools took the bar examinations September last year.

Ateneo de Manila University law graduate Mercedita L. Ona topped the tests with an average score of 83.55 percent. Jennifer Ong of the University of the Philippines in Diliman followed at 83.35 percent.

The 22.91-percent passing rate for the 2007 bar would have been much lower, perhaps an all-time low of 5 percent, had the passing rate not been adjusted from the traditional 75 percent to 70 percent.

"Due to unusually strict corrections, it was decided to lower the passing grade to 70 percent," Associate Justice Adolf Azcuna said in a press conference.

Azcuna, chairman of the 2007 Bar Committee, said the committee had to adjust the passing grade from 75 to 70 percent on three subjects -- Civil Law, Criminal Law, and Social Legislation -- otherwise only five percent of 5,626 examinees will have made it.

He added that the committee also decided to lower the disqualification rate on Labor and Civil Law from 50 to 45 percent.

The Supreme Court associate justice said the passing grade was lowered before but it was not clearly known what prompted it then.

Under the Rules of Court, a bar examinee is deemed to have passed if he obtains a general average of 75 percent in all subjects without falling below 50 percent in any subject.

The subjects and their corresponding weights are as follows: Remedial Law, 20 percent; Political and International Law, 15 percent; Mercantile Law, 15 percent; Civil Law, 15 percent; Labor and Social Legislation, 10 percent; Taxation, 10 percent; Criminal Law, 10 percent; and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, 5 percent.

Azcuna also said Associate Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Conchita Carpio-Morales, and Presbiterio Velasco inhibited themselves during the deliberations prior to the announcement of the results.

Oathtaking of the successful candidates will be on April 29 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Associate Justice Dante Tinga will head the next bar examination committee.

The number of examinees last year is smaller than the 6,345 who took the tests in 2006.

Since 2000, the highest percentage of bar passers was seen in 2001, where the passing rate was 32.89 percent. This corresponded to 1,266 passers out of 3,849 examinees.

But the biggest number of actual passers since 2000 was recorded in 2006, when 1,893 out of 6,187 passed, or 30.60 percent of the total.

The lowest percentage of passers since 2000 was recorded in 2002, when only 19.68 percent passed.

Last year, the high court began implementing the "five-strike" rule, which disqualifies five-time flunkers from taking future bar exams.

With a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer