Palace: New law passers ‘most welcome’ to join gov’t

Following the release of the 2017 Bar Examinations, Malacañang on Thursday, April 26, congratulated law graduates who passed one of the country’s hardest licensure exams.

Malacañang also encouraged new lawyers to pursue a career in the government, as their “idealism, integrity and competence are most welcome” under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We’d like to congratulate in advance and wish everyone, all the barristers good luck on this year’s bar exam,” said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who is also a lawyer himself.

“We hope that many of our country’s new lawyers would pursue a career in government so that they may take part in helping us with our shared goal of creating genuine reforms for the nation,” he added.

The Supreme Court (SC) released the results on Thursday afternoon. The 2017 bar exam posed a passing rate of 25.5 percent, with a total of 1,724 examinees out of 7,227 law graduates who were allowed to take the bar exams last November.

Topping the bar is Mark John Simondo of the University of St La Salle Bacolod, with a grade of 91.05 percent.

In an earlier message to law students, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno encouraged them to oppose moves that will undermine judicial independence and stifle dissent.

During a forum on Wednesday, April 25, at the Ateneo Law School, Sereno warned that the country’s democracy and constitutional form of government are in “danger.”

Sereno, who is currently on leave, is facing impeachment before Congress. She is also facing a quo warranto petition filed Solicitor General Jose Calida.

She described Calida’s petition, which seeks to nullify her appointment, as a “sword of Damocles that hangs over the heads of all government employees.” She further claimed that the case against her  was “effectively a dictatorship.”

“It is effectively dictatorship because the future of so many – the rights of so many – are being held in the hands of the solicitor general and his boss… our democratic way of life is in danger. We will fall into one-man rule,” she warned in an apparent reference to Duterte and his officials.

Sereno then told law students: “Do you want a future where millions of government [employees] are [worried] about their security of tenure? If you don’t want that, then … protest. Tell them that’s wrong, that we are facing a bleak future.”

She also encouraged them to carefully observe how the government is exercising its power.

“Inaabuso po ba (Is there an abuse)? Ginigiit ang human will (Is human will being forced on the people)? Ang Constitution at ang mga batas (and our laws), they are there para may (so there would be a) limit with the exercise of the human will. The exercise of will by one man or his government is not the law, is not the Constitution,” Sereno said. 

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