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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FW: Ochoa appeals to law schools to improve legal education



Office of the President

of the Philippines




Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has appealed to law schools to raise the quality of legal education in the country amid the declining number of Bar passers.

“Every year, the number of those who take the Bar Exams increases; from around 4,000 plus examinees five years ago, last year almost 7,000 took the Bar. Unfortunately, the passing rate has not improved,” Ochoa said at the inaugural dinner of the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) Tuesday night.

The low number of Bar passers, the Executive Secretary said, should prompt educators to closely examine “if the Bar Exams themselves are the reason for the dismal passing rates or the quality of legal education in the country.”

With no ample checks and balances in place to monitor the proliferation of law schools, Ochoa suggested that the first step to address this was self-regulation.

“You all know that there are many schools that offer law but cannot produce graduates who pass the bar. Accreditation and strict monitoring among your ranks will help ensure that the hard-earned money being invested by aspiring lawyers in their legal education will be rewarded,” said Ochoa, a lawyer himself who joined the Bar in 1986.

“I do ask that you help aspiring lawyers achieve their dreams by helping your peers improve the quality of legal education so that more individuals can earn the title ‘attorney,’” he added.

According to data from PALS, a total of 118 law schools participated in the 2009 Bar Examinations. Of the 118 law schools, 63 had a Bar passing average lower than 24 per cent, while 20 law schools got a zero passing rate. Only 24.58 per cent of those who took the 2009 Bar passed the exams.

In the same occasion attended by some members of the judiciary, Ochoa asked lawyers to support the Aquino Administration despite disagreements over legal points of view.

He said: “Along the way, of course, we may have disagreements over points of law, especially with our counterparts in the judiciary, but that is the essence of democracy… But the important thing is, at the end of the day, it works because it ensures that government uses—and not abuses—its power to serve the people.”

“The bottomline, however, is that this administration, which I have promised to unequivocally support, is honest and transparent… This administration’s leaders will not use their position to enrich themselves and will never serve special interests at the expense of our people’s welfare,” Ochoa said.

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