Supreme Court calls for revision of lawyers’ code, unveils marker at UNC

By Keren Anne Bernadas and Paulo DS. Papa


THE Supreme Court of the Philippines called for the revision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability (CPRA) during the Ethics Caravan held at the University of Nueva Caceres New Student Building, here on Thursday, November 10.


SC Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo advocated for the proposal, which he said, ‘highly significant’ because this governs the actuations and ethical commitment of lawyers not only before the court, but to the clients and the community as well.


The need to revise the 34-year old code, the chief justice said, is important to be able to “cope with the changing times, and to reinforce accountability not only of the code but of the ethics among its practitioners as it is ‘a way of life’.”


Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the Bar examination chair, presented the proposed “Lawyer’s Oath” that contains words emphasizing its deeper value.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines awards the University of Nueva Caceres a Bar exam historical marker last November 10, this year. Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo (5th from left) and UNC President Fay Lea Patria Lauraya (3nd from right) lead the awarding ceremonies. Photo also shows SC and UNC officials. (Supreme Court photo)


Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh and other members of the said sub-committee also introduced notable provisions on the preferred CPRA.


Headed by the Supreme Court Sub-Committee for the Revision of the CPRA, the event involved breakout sessions to gather inputs, observations and recommendations from participating judges, deans, lawyers, law students and the public.


The caravan was followed by the unveiling of the historical marker given by the court en banc to UNC being the first regional and digitally-operated bar exam testing center in the Bicol region.


Around 400 barristers from the region took the bar on November 9.


Of this, the UNC President Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya said, “It is a privilege to be identified after going through a series of screenings and evaluations. The UNC is happy to be part of the transformations being undertaken by the Supreme Court as they made this bar affordable and accessible to all takers.”


Lauraya also thanked the Naga City government, Philippine National Police Naga and the Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative for making the facilities, security and electricity in place during the duration of the exam.


Gesmundo awarded the UNC last Thursday, November 10, with a historical marker for playing host to the digitalized and regionalized 2022/2023 Bar Examinations in the Bicol Region.


The unveiling of the marker, which was conducted at the students’ pavilion, was spearheaded by Gesmundo and UNC President Lauraya. The inscription in the marker said that the university is one of the 31 local testing centers located in 23 local government units all over the country that hosted the first ever regionalized and digitalized Philippine bar examinations.


It also said that the regional Bar Examinations in Bicol, which was first conducted at the UNC last January 16, 23, 30, and February 6, 2022 was successful despite the pandemic and the occurrence of several natural disasters.


The Court also recognized the local government unit of Naga City for its cooperative efforts that made the school to open its doors for the conduct of the Bar exams. It said that the school’s collaboration showed its perseverance and resiliency in time of the pandemic.


Atty. Antonio Rivero, dean of the College of Law, said that the bar exams in 2020 and 2021 was suspended by the SC due to the threats of Covid-19 that caused restrictions to face-to-face activities.


To conduct the postponed examinations for 2020 and 2021 exams, Supreme Court Associate Justice and Bar exams Chairperson Marvic Leonen issued Bar Bulletin Nos. 23 and 29, Series of 2021 designating UNC as the testing center in Bicol. UNC was listed 12th testing center with maximum slots of 1,000 examinees.


Rivero said that about 490 law graduates took the examinations during the first bar in the region from 2020 to 2021. He added that about 460 examinees were counted by the university last November 9, the first day of the regionalized bar examinations for 2022.


The Court however refused to give the exact number of Bar exam takers in Bicol this month due to internal policy.


The school official said that no technical glitches were noted when the first localized/digitalized examinations were conducted at the UNC that is why the school was chosen again to play host to the bar exams conducted last November 9, 13, and 16. The exams will end on Sunday, November 20, this year.