COMMENTARY: Hurdling another kind of bar PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 October 2014 14:26

BY Atty. Vicente R. Solis, Lawyer


Two weeks ago on this space I wrote that the “final test of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be made at the Supreme Court when an appropriate case is brought before it for judicial scrutiny by way of a challenge on the validity or constitutionality of the finalized BBL.” The short piece was titled “HURDLING THE CONSTITUTIONAL BAR”.

Today I have a few thoughts on hurdling another kind of bar, that which started yesterday at the University of Sto. Tomas campus in Manila. I refer to the bar examinations administered yearly by the Supreme Court for those possessed of a law degree and wanting to have the four letters – “Atty.” – prefixed to their names. The examinations, which consist of eight subjects, including Political Law, Labor Law, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law, and Legal & Judicial Ethics, are held during four consecutive Sundays of October, with two subjects per test day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

For this year, there is a total of 6,344 examinees, of which 3,229 are “repeaters” (or those who had failed in prior years) and 3,115 “first timers”.  How many of these bar-takers (and re-takers) will become lawyers will be known only in March next year when the results are released. Incidentally, the passing percentage last year was only 22% (of 5,292 examinees, only 1,174 made it). Inevitably the question arises, How do you become part of the passing percentage?  How do you hurdle the bar?

I faced that same question years back, when, after four years at the Ateneo de Manila in Padre Faura, I took the bar examinations. In recollection and summary, these are some of the things I did. One, I abandoned the paralyzing thought of failing, and brainwashed myself that I would pass the examinations in one take (the effect of reading Peale’s books on positive thinking in college). Two, I convinced myself that if passing was a cinch, pulling down the highest possible score would be a viable goal. (I can’t possibly deny this. It’s every examinee’s dream.) Three, I adopted a regimented and spartan life for six months and buried myself in law books and jurisprudence like never before. (I never counted the hours reading rulings of the Supreme Court. However, I would hit the sack when absorption level dropped to zero.) Four, without becoming a recluse, I severed myself from practically all social linkages (hard to do this these days with sms, email, Twitter, and Facebook), but stayed engaged with a highly supportive family (my father Luis and mother Isabel) at Sta. Maria. Five, I took care of my health (Chat Shinn forked over all the vitamins I needed to stay in fighting form). Six, I clung to a method in answering the examination questions, which included time management (allocating minutes for each question), brevity in answers (never try to impress the examiner with your citations of the law and case titles) and legibility of handwriting (what’s the use if your answers can’t be read?). Seven, after having done all that, I left the rest to the Almighty. On May 4, 1974, or six months after the examinations, I received a call from a national newspaper. The rest is history.


OTRAS COSAS: The ordinance-imposed ban on firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in the city is a signal achievement of the city council for this year. Definitely, it enhances security and peace of mind in the community. We don’t have to second guess anymore the unnerving loud bangs and booms from oversized firecrackers during civil and religious festivities.


A window of opportunity opens up for Rommel if both Celso and Beng decide to run for mayor in 2016. The latter two contesting the same office will divide and crack open the political base and machinery inherited by the congressman directly and the mayor indirectly from the late Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat.


The Ateneo high school class of 1964 will celebrate its golden year during the school’s homecoming at La Purisima this coming December 4-7. The golden blue eagles may get in touch with batchmate Jules Julian at or see him at Pasonanca for details. (PO Box 333, Zamboanga City,