By Erma Edera
No untoward incident was reported during the first of the four-Sunday 2018 Bar examinations at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila Sunday, police said.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Guillermo Eleazar said that no untoward incident around the campus and no prohibited items were confiscated from the examinees during the first day of bar exams.
Eleazar conducted an inspection around UST early Sunday morning to ensure peace and order around the examination venue.
Police have been deployed around UST as early as 3 a.m. on Sunday.
Superintendent Ana Lourence Simbajon, Manila Police District (MPD) spokesperson, said that the first day of the bar examination was “peaceful.”
In the past four years, the bar takers were required to use transparent or see-through bags for security purposes.
Examinees are also prohibited from bringing firearms, smartphones, smartwatches, cameras, voice recorders and other gadgets inside the University.
Around 434 policemen from the NCRPO were fielded in the vicinity of UST to provide security to 8,701 law graduates who took the Bar Examinations.
Before the gates opened at the University of Santo Tomas on Sunday for the 2018 bar exams, families and friends of the bar examinees as well as other groups carrying banners flocked and added color to the festive atmosphere to show their support to the examinees.
Supporters brought along an image of the Santo Niño, colorful placards, banners with inspirational messages and balloons. Some aspiring lawyers burst into tears as their supporters cheered them on.
Bar taker John Daniel of the University of Pangasinan, who recently lost his father and mourning the death of his uncle was seen crying before entering the examination venue.
“Dad, tito para po sa inyo ’to! (Dad, uncle, this is for you),” he said as he cried and embraced his mother.
But 62-year-old Antonia Carbrigas-De Jesus was all smiles as her three children accompanied her in UST.
She said that she will be taking the Bar Exam for the third time.
Some of the supporters seen in front of UST were from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). They allowed their personnel to take a six-month study leave to prepare for the 2018 bar exams.
Chief Inspector Xavier Awican Solda, BJMP spokesperson Jail, said around 60 personnel, including four officials from different regional offices of BJMP took the 2018 bar examination.
“Importante na masuportahan sila kasi alam niyo naman ang pangangailangan ng BJMP pagdating sa mga lawyer. Kailangan na kailangan namin ng mga abogado (It’s important to lend them support especially since the BJMP needs lawyers),” Solda told the Manila Bulletin.
He also noted that Philippine jails were congested by more than 500 percent.
“We encouraged our personnel to take up law. Malaking advantage kung sa BJMP mismo manggagaling yung mga lawyers, mas mabilis yung pagfollow-up ng mga kaso sa korte (It’s a big advantage if lawyers are from within the BJMP because the follow-up of pending cases before the courts would be easier),” he said.
Out of the 50 examinees of BJMP from last year’s bar exam, 10 of them made it to the list.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen also visited UST and encouraged the bar takers to do well.
“Huwag mag-panic (don’t panic), take the exam one at a time,” he said.
Meanwhile, some of the law school deans sent their bar candidates inspiring messages.
In a Facebook post, UST Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina advised the bar takers to “aspire not just to pass but to excel.”’