SC lifts 5-strike rule in bar exams

THE Supreme Court yesterday ordered the lifting of the five-strike rule in taking the bar examinations based on the recommendation of a study committee tapped by the tribunal. Court spokesman Theodore Te said the resolution was reached during the Court’s regular en banc session based on the administrative matter that sought to relax the rule, which gives barristers five chances at passing the bar exams, pursuant to Bar Matter No. 1161, which was first implemented in 2005. The Bar Matter states that candidates will be disqualified to take the exams after failing three examinations, provided, that he may take a fourth and fifth examination if he successfully completes a one-year refresher course for each examination. After five takes and the examinee still fails to pass, then he or she will no longer be allowed to take the exam to become a lawyer. “The five-strike rule says if you fail it three times, before you can take it for the fourth time, you have to comply with certain conditions. And if you fail it for the fourth time, to take it for the fifth time, you have to comply with certain conditions. Beyond that, hindi ka na pwedeng kumuha. Now, that is lifted,” he said. Te said the rule shall take effect in the 2014 bar exam. He said the lifting of the rule cannot be applied to this year’s examination as the list of probable bar candidates has already been published. He also said the Court would issue guidelines on the reforms. In 2010, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez called for the suspension of the five-strike rule for the next two years, in the wake of the adoption of the multiple-choice questions in the bar exams, which traditionally consist of essay questions on eight bar subjects. Earlier, the SC announced that the exam will revert to its previous format, which is predominantly essay-type. It will consist of 80 percent essay-type questions and 20 percent multiple-choice questions. – Evangeline de Vera