Setting the bar – Manila Standard


It’s that time of the year again. Thousands of law graduates nationwide will gather in one university taking a month-long test that would determine the course of their careers.

This is yet another obstacle to be hurdled after the punishing years in law school and the subsequent review tomorrow and for three more Sundays after that.

These graduates’ aspirations, hard work and grit will come to a head when they take what is known to be the toughest professional examination in the country.

There will be the usual show of support from family, friends, and mentors.

There will be the words of advice from people who have been through the same ordeal, ready to welcome their new companeros to the elite profession.

And there will be the rest of us, continuing to hold the field in high regard, trusting the good intentions and integrity of its practitioners. With so much hatred, evil, and malice going around it is our lawyers who will be at the forefront of the fight against oppression and justice.

That is, in an ideal world.

The events that have unfolded recently tell us that even lawyers—some would say especially them—are prone to trappings of power and self interest. Weren’t those behind the cruel death of a law freshman themselves lawyers or aspiring to be lawyers? Weren’t their so called elders, occupying plum positions in the academe, government or private practice the source of ill advice on what to do?

And don’t many of those in public office these days use their knowledge and associations to make wrong appear right, spread falsehoods and defend the reprehensible?

In a grand stroke of irony, the Bar exams will take place at the very institution that housed both Horacio Castillo III and the men he had wanted to call his brothers. We hope that this unfortunate connection will neither taint the idealism of the exam takers nor dampen their enthusiasm to pursue what it still a noble profession—if not for the deviants who give their colleagues a bad name.

Not all the 7,227 exam takers will pass the Bar, but we hope that all of them can keep their consciences intact, whatever the outcome.


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