Essay: Why should the State implement mandatory and free education for everyone?

Answer: Education is one way of future-proofing yourself against unwanted events. When done right, it equips the person with good tools to survive outside school. It then redounds to the benefit of the family and then ultimately to the State. Therefore, implementing strict measures such as making it mandatory or imposing higher taxation rates to fund a totally-free education can be reasonable and effective.

If you rode a PUV which goes through the Makati Ave-LRT Buendia (Gil Puyat) route, chances are, you will come across several children jumping from one vehicle to another, asking for spare changes. They do sing and/or dance while doing so. If you have been through University Belt or several portions of Taft Avenue, you will see kids cleaning the front side of your vehicle in exchange of your spare coins. Some sidewalk vendors, such as those selling fishballs or street foods, employ the underage as well.

It is a very depressing sight. By doing so, you do not only expose these children to danger; you also steal a considerable amount of time from their youthful age – time which would have been better spent on learning new things to mold their growing minds.

“Ang kabataan ay ang pag-asa ng Bayan.” As a parent, if you want to future-proof your family, make sure to provide good education for your children. As the head of the State, if you want to future-proof the nation, make education MANDATORY and COMPLETELY FREE for everyone.

My proposals:

  1. Make elementary, secondary, and college education mandatory for everyone. And when I say mandatory, I mean force it and enforce sanctions to parents/guardians who will not allow their child to avail such right.
  2. Make such education completely free. And by that, I mean COMPLETELY FREE. This will prevent parents from giving excuses such as “I cannot pay for my child’s education even if the school does not cost any tuition at all.” I have been through public schools in my youth, and even though I did not pay tuition fee at all, I still have to pay money for my food, notebooks, and all other basic necessities. Those are expensive, and my opinion is that the State should provide that.
    • People might rebut and refer me to state universities and whatnot. If that is the case then explain why there are still people who are not able to finish their studies even in the presence of these universities. I stand my ground on the fact that while these institutions do not ask for fees, necessities will still have provided by the student himself. That defeats the concept of free education, really.
  3. Create more public schools and state universities, and distribute them among different regions in the Philippines. Eradicate excuses such as “Walang pamasahe papuntang x” or “Wala akong pera pangluwas ng Maynila para makapagaral doon sa free university.”.
  4. For these free educational institutions created by State:
    • Elementary: Make the curriculum more advanced. If some public schools are already teaching what-would-be–highschool-subjects to elementary students, then everyone should do it as well. This allows the student to build a strong foundation of knowledge and develop critical-thinking at such an early age.
    • Secondary: We already have K-12; all the more reason to teach students with topics as advanced as college disciplines. Focus more on stuff which they will need in real life: e.g. taxation, financial independence, investments. But do not leave the other necessities behind: e.g. algebra-geometry-trigonometry-calculus/biology-chemistry-physics. The common notion is that those might not be of use in real world, and indeed, it may be true. However, those subjects allow the child to develop/acquire critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities along the way.
    • College. By this time, people should have the critical-thinking abilities needed to study more advanced fields. For all intents and purposes, he can choose any fields that he wants to study. However, it is my belief that technical courses are the way to go if people want a good standard of living, and the State can enforce it by opening more slots for courses related to these disciplines (e.g. engineering, science, computer and technology, economics, finance, etc).

People might ask where can the State get the funds to finance these projects. It goes without saying that the government’s main source of revenue is taxation, and such funds are allocated by the Congress through the annual General Appropriations Act. Such act also requires that the highest proceeds should go to education as well. But realistically speaking, it does not work out to education’s benefit. Lack of strategic planning coupled with corruptions here and there tend to get in the way of the intended goal.

And so my proposal:

  1. Retain what we have right now: that the highest proceeds should still go to Education. However, employ a more strategical way to distribute these funds. And of course, remove the traditional/archaic way of doing things (which is unfortunately present in most of the government operations) and get more innovative in the implementation. I know this is vague, but my point is, just because it is there does not mean it is useful. Change what needs to be changed to progress.
  2. If #1 is not enough, increase the budget required for General Appropriations Act. Once done, it will increase the budget for education as well.
  3. If both of the above are not effective, increase taxation rate. People might lash out at me for this, and with a good reason. However, it is my belief that an increase in taxation is proper if it meets the ends desired. In some European countries, they have a very high taxation rate, but that is coupled with free education and healthcare; so much so that people do not complain about it. We can implement it here as well if need be.
    • I have to stress the fact that as a parent, you won’t mind paying higher taxes if you are confident that the State can provide your children with good education all the way. It is as if you are indirectly paying an educational plan for your child.

Of course, everything above is without prejudice to the school’s authority to filter out students. I think it is just and befitting for the school to handpick individuals and retain only those which pass their standards. For as long as such standards are reasonable, it is fine in my book. It may be harsh, but it forces the student to study well if he wants to have access to such free education.

With everything implemented above, anyone will not have an excuse as to why he is not able to obtain the educational requirements needed to land a decent-paying job. It will now depend on the student to exert an effort on his part to comply with the standards set forth by school. It will be difficult, especially if you are to enter a technical course; but this way, e can focus more on studying since he does not have to worry about anything else (e.g. where to get the fees). The State does it for him.

My point in this post is: right now, our education system is either: a) a ripoff, money-wise; or b) not as effective as it may seem. People have a lot of excuses to why they are not able to finish their studies. And even for graduates, some are not able to get a good-paying job. Please do not get me wrong. It is good to study something you are passionate about, but let us be realistic: that educational field that you are in right now might not be capable of giving you that much-needed dough to survive after school. Personally, I have experienced working in both administration/management and IT, and believe me when I say that generally, IT-related jobs give exponentially-higher salaries than the others. An entry-level position in normal administrative work can be about Php15,000 a month, while the positions of same level in IT/Engineering can go as high as Php25,000 a month. Also, add the fact that technology is being developed at a very fast rate that it creates a lot of demand for everyone. The steady increase in such field is unbelievable, and getting into it is one good way of future-proofing yourself against any economical disasters and job competitions.

My own sentiments, coupled with those bad feelings when I see out-of-school youth, prompted me to create this post. And so I stand my ground in saying that with proper regulations and implementations by the State, it safeguards the people a good future and forces them on the right track. It may run contrary to the liberal thinking that I normally advocate for; but a good authoritative-like measure to impose mandatory and free education might be what the people need to give them a headstart once they reach the age of majority and become the breadwinner of their family. Increased literacy rate can solve a lot of things.  If it is not working out quite fine, something needs to be changed.  And the State should pave way for such change to happen.

Issues of Road Congestions and Bottlenecks

I am sure everyone will agree with me that one of the biggest problems we encounter everyday is road traffic.  Whether an individual is on his way to school, to work, or anywhere else, expect that there will be issues in terms of road congestions and bottlenecks.

And how do the majority of the citizens counter this?  By adjusting their time, e.g., they will wake up 2 hours before the start of their school instead of what-would-have-been-a-one-hour preparation routine.  In a good way, it actually measures a person’s sense of responsibility.  However in my opinion, it is painful and is very uncalled for.

The government should be the one making the adjustments for the people, not the people themselves.  And sad to say, they are not doing a very good job.

My proposals?

1.  Impose a stricter coding system so more people who own cars will be forced to take public transportation vehicles frequently (e.g. plates ending in 1, 2, and 3 are not allowed to operate during Mondays instead of only 1 and 2, and so on and so forth).

It is not supposed to be on the top of my list, and I know it is wrong to actually impugn their hard-earned privileges but let’s face it:  more benefits can arise from it: financial savings and/or environmental preservation, etc.

I know the first one is horrible, but let me try to offset that with #2.

2.  Strategic route planning and stricter road rules.
One of the reasons why people want to avoid public transportation vehicles, especially when they have their own car to speak of, is because they will be inconvenienced.  Ironic, right?

The situation we are in right now is pretty much chaotic; bumpy as a matter of fact!  Passengers can almost board a vehicle and alight anywhere, causing unnecessary stoppage of the queue behind them.  Vehicles can do turns even in roads where turning is not allowed.  Stoplights are not being followed.  Both vehicles and pedestrians can cross the street even when the red light is turned on.

We should have very strategic route maps to prevent bottlenecking.  The plan should be something that would anticipate where most of the vehicles are coming from and where will they go; foresee any fortuitous events and accidents that might arise and have an efficient action plan in hand in case this happens.  It should tackle the specific sites where turnings are allowed/not allowed, one-way routes, roads where only specific type of vehicles are allowed, etc.  Too bad I am not much of a logical thinker and a good commuter myself, or I would have listed more.

And of course, good strategic route will always be useless unless there is an existence of the strict implementation of rules.  Putting a good number of implementing officers and personnel in strategic points will introduce big improvements.  Impose reasonable penalties and it should always remind the people that road rules are set and should be followed.  Loading sites will be strictly for loading; and it should be the same for alighting passengers in alighting points.

Obligatory addition:  More underpasses for pedestrians.  This way, vehicles can ride smoothly.

3.  Trains!  I love trains.  They are very efficient in such a way that they can carry a lot of passengers in a short amount of time.  The LRT/MRT issues that we are having right now mostly centres on the fact that LRT/MRT cannot accommodate the number of commuters, and then it is coupled with idiotic action plans.  The easiest-yet-expensive solution?  Add more trains, and plenty of it.  A more long-term solution?  Add railways which would serve as alternatives for the commuters themselves.
In my idea of an utopian state, trains are pretty much everywhere, covering large areas of land.  Think NRC-to-Cavite routes.  Think LRT-15 or MRT-21.  Think of a 15-minute ride from one province to another.  The best part about this is with proper engineering methods, you can establish those railways underground, making them even more efficient.

And this is not a very good ending statement, but I might as well say this: What irks me the most is that people who are in power do not dare to ride public transportation vehicles on a regular basis.  For someone who “cares about the majority” and “seeks improvement in all aspects”, it is very ironic, isn’t it?  I mean, what better way to see the problems that the masses are having and make a good solution for it other than stepping on the masses’ shoes and seeing the world from their eyes?

Of Taxes and Allocation of Government Funds

Right now, majority* of the citizens in the Philippines are unconsciously* taxed via the following:

1.  Income Tax, the percentage of which is dependent on your, among others, status; and,

2.  Value-Added Tax, wherein an additional 12% is added on the normal purchase price of a commodity.

*Majority because most of the citizens are part of the labor force.

**Unconsciously because more often than not, individuals either do not know about it, or they know but do not care much about it.

There are a few others but allow me to only cite those two as examples.

Taxes are made to raise funds for governmental operations.  It is a very powerful power of a State in such as way that the citizens, under normal circumstances, cannot exempt themselves from it.  But this inherent power is backed by the idea that the collected amount should bounce back to the citizens. After all, being a citizen of a State does not only equate to being imposed with responsibilities; it is also tantamount to the enjoyment of benefits for being a citizen.

Sad to say, as verbose and innocent the purpose of taxation is, it does not act that way.  In reality, we give so much yet receive little in return.  Philippines is one of the countries with higher tax rates as compared to the other ASEAN countries out there and yet majority of the people do not feel benefits coming out of it.  My observation that it is mainly caused by two things:

1.  Corruption of governmental authorities; and

2.  Bad and inefficient strategical planning as to the distribution and utilization of funds.

With those two, one can really tell how dysfunctional or ineffective the current government is.

On the plus side, things have improved as compared to the previous years when Estrada and Arroyo were the leaders.  Still, even with Aquino in power, I feel that there is still much to do as to the allocation of taxes obtained from the people.  I am no financial or economics expert, and there are more factual references out there detailing where the public funds go (Google for governmental reports, they should come in handy).  But from my observation, I can give you three things which we definitely need to improve on, budget-wise:

1.  Education.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Ever heard of the motto “Give a man a fish and he will be satiated for a day; teach him how to fish and he will be satiated for a lifetime.”  This holds true in more ways than one.

Fact is, many young Filipinos today cannot study because they do not have the financial capability to do so; it can be a valid excuse, yes.  Compare that to the other countries out there, particularly those in Europe.  Some of them have high tax rates (even higher than us), but students can go to school up until college, free-of-charge.  Most, if not all, of those graduates are then able to enter into stable and good-paying jobs.  Graduates can finance their needs and at the same time, take part in the payment of taxes for the studies of the next generation.  They can pave way for the gradual-yet-fast improvement of the system.  Plus, most educated people can give good decisions, probably on who deserves to be voted upon during elections.  It is a domino effect in such as way that free (and quality) education, as expensive and burdensome as it is, can actually lead to more benefits than allocating the funds somewhere else.

2.  Health care, especially for the elderly.  This time, public welfare is the core.  Elders should be able to enjoy the “golden years” of their lives as a pure act of State’s gratitude of the elders’ contributions when they were in their prime years.  If citizens can think of their future peacefully without the worry of what is going to happen if they reached the stage where they are unable to work, then that would give them enough motivation to become productive during their primes.

And it does not stop there.  If the citizens can expect help from the government during the dire times (in sickness), trust and confidence is developed.  It boosts their morale.

3.  Agriculture, including agrarian-reform programs.  The Philippines is strategically located at a place where crops and other agricultural products can be bountiful without the need of special effort and measures (unlike those in colder states).  We are good at it, and what better way to utilize our resources other than improving what we are already good at?  Include that with the application of innovative scientific research for the improvement of process and it could redound to higher GDP in general (which then leads to better economy).  Also, food will be cheaper for citizens, and hunger rates will go down.

Corruption is another topic, but that is a harder problem to solve and dwelling on that is not advisable.  Instead, focusing on the three above can actually lead to a more efficient allocation of public funds, and it can be an easier and short-term alternative solution to the people’s question of where our taxes go.

Surely we are burdened with high taxes right now.  It is definitely fine if majority of the citizens can feel the benefit arising therefrom; unfortunately, that is not the case at the moment.  Some folks might even suggest the imposition of higher tax rates, but my apologies:  I am not a fan of that concept, thanks to my biased concern for my high-paying salary.  Why would I pay for something that I, or the people, will not benefit from?

In fact, one can say that with the amount that the government deducts from us, they are getting more than enough to fund plentiful projects notwithstanding the fact that most of it are pocketed by those in power.  Going after those stolen funds is not the only solution: we also need to formulate a more intelligence action plan.

Disclaimer:  This is an essay of my personal opinions and as such, not backed up by credible evidences.  It is very vague, yes, but in so far as my ideas go, I am merely putting things that I can think of.  

Is the MCQ style a better way to assess a barrister’s eligibility to become a lawyer?

The following is a research paper drafted by the author for the sole purpose of class discussion.  He gives full credits to his sources which are listed below (footnotes).


 A bar examination is a test intended to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.[1]  Every law student who wishes to become an official member of the Philippine bar must pass it while conforming to the other requirements set forth by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.  It is also arguably one of the most controversial licensure examinations in the Philippines, most likely due to the fact that future lawyers have the highest tendency to become a prominent public figure in the future.  The lapse of time between the start of the examination schedule until the announcement of the results are characterized with both the citizens and the media keeping abreast for updates regarding the topic, and with good reasons.

Many years in the past, the Philippine Bar Examination utilized essay-type questions in order to assess the capabilities of its barristers.  It is in here that they are allowed to show their knowledge of the subject matter in such a way that they can freely express it in any manner that they want.  Truly, it is one of the most useful ways to see how good the barristers can present, argue, and defend their ideas, and because of this, the bar examinations have gained a considerably good yet fearsome reputation that it only selects the “best out of the best” as one of the most difficult licensure examinations in Asia and perhaps, the whole world.  It has been like that for years ever since the first Philippine bar examination was handled.

In 2011 however, the public masses were shocked to hear that a major reform was proposed and passed in the bar examinations.  From the traditional essay-type questions, it will now cater multiple choice questions (MCQs) for the majority of its parts.  Surely, change is constant and permanent, but adopting to such change is something that cannot be easily done.  And in the case of bar examinations, this adjustment can widely affect almost everything:  from the overall difficulty of the examination to the passing rates of the barristers, as well as the public’s perception of the qualities of those who will pass it.   It triggered a lot of debates and arguments as it divided the mass, especially the members of the bar, into two.

Is the MCQ style in the bar examinations really a more effective way to assess the eligibility of a barrister to become a lawyer, as compared to the essay type questions?  Is it really proper for the higher authority to test the waters and bring this out all of a sudden?  Does it have the ability to select more competent lawyers out of the whole group?  Are we ready to accept such changes in a way that it will not affect the good-yet-painful reputation of the lawyers’ selection process?


The MCQ (multiple choice question) style has been utilized in many of the licensure examinations in the Philippines, and because it is so traditional, it has not at least sparked the greatest or noisiest controversies.  In fact, not many have questioned at all the credibility of such type, and because of this, the public has widely viewed it as functional and effective

As for the other countries outside the Philippines, they also present their bar examinations in MCQ style.[2]  Although the essay-type questions remain standing strong, multiple choice questions are a lot more apparent and are given a greater weight in the scoring system.  Even the United States of America has been using the MCQ style for years.[3]

In the Philippines, the first bar exam was held in 1901, while the ongoing 2012 bar examinations is its 112th.[4]  In the Article VIII, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court of the Philippines was vested the power to “promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged.”[5]  In the previous years, the examinations were held during the four Sundays of September every year, and essay questions were used wholly for over 100 years.[6]  Although many changes and reforms were proposed and made as referenced in the Bar Matters, the essay-type questions remained resilient and existing.  That is, until the most controversial reform of the examination format was released.

In July 2010, Bar Examination Committee chairman Associate Justice Roberto Abad made a proposal to make the first part of the 2011 bar exams a multiple choice on codal provisions, while the second part will remain to be essay.  This proposal came about after consultation with deans from various law schools.[7]  In January 18, 2011, the proposal became official when B.M. 2265 (Re: Reforms in the 2011 Bar Examinations) was approved and passed by Supreme Court En Banc.  Apart from the changes in the schedule and the coverage of the bar examinations, the following were also included in its provisions:

 “The bar examinations shall measure the candidate’s knowledge of the law and its applications through multiple-choice-questions (MCQs).”[8]

 “5. Part of the bar examinations shall be of the essay-type, dedicated to measuring the candidate’s skills in writing in English, sorting out the relevant facts in a legal dispute, identifying the issue or issues involved, organizing his thoughts, constructing his arguments, and persuading his readers to his point of view. The essays will not be bar subject specific.”[9]

 “8. The results of the a) MCQ and b) essay-type examinations shall be given weights of 60% and 40%, respectively, in the computation of the candidate’s final grade.”[10]

For the first time in over 100 years, the Philippine bar examinations will use the multiple choice format in presenting its questions, and this is still effective in the ongoing 2012 Bar Examinations.[11]


It must be taken into consideration that when the Bar Examination Committee chairman proposed for the change, deans from various law schools were consulted first.  While those law schools or deans were not specifically named nor announced, a mere statement saying that they were asked for opinions regarding the matter must still be given a great weight.  It is in these law schools that the barristers are trained, and there is no person or entity who can suggest a better way to rate the knowledge that they acquired other than the administrators of those schools themselves, the deans being one of them.  If the deans gave their opinions regarding the change in the examination format, then these reforms must be made in such a way that the opinions coming from those deans were considered and given great value.

Moving forward, in the Preliminary Statement mentioned in B.M. No. 2265 about the reforms in the 2011 Bar Examination regarding the reasons behind the proposals, it was mentioned that:

 “A second recommendation addresses the predominantly essay-type of bar examinations that the Court conducts. Because of the enormous growth of laws, doctrines, principles, and precedents, it has been noted that such examinations are unable to hit a significant cross-section of the subject matter. Further, the huge number of candidates taking the examinations annually and the limited time available for correcting the answers make fair correction of purely essay-type examinations difficult to attain.”

Note that the Bar Examination Committee even said that, “the use of multiple choice questions, properly and carefully constructed, is a method of choice for qualifying professionals all over the world because of its proven reliability and facility of correction,” implying that they, too, believe in the effectiveness of the MCQ style considering the wide use of it all over the world.

A third recommendation opts for maintaining the essay-type examinations but dedicating these to the assessment of the requisite communication skills, creativity, and fine intellect that bar candidates need for the practice of law.”[12]

 When the court approved the principles above, they further stated that:

 “2. The bar examinations shall measure the candidate’s knowledge of the law and its applications through multiple-choice-questions (MCQs) that are to be so constructed as to specifically:

 2.1. Measure the candidate’s knowledge of and ability to recall the laws, doctrines, and principles that every new lawyer needs in his practice;

 2.2. Assess the candidate’s understanding of the meaning and significance of those same laws, doctrines, and principles as they apply to specific situations; and

 2.3. Measure his ability to analyze legal problems, apply the correct law or principle to such problems, and provide solutions to them.”[13]

In the preceding provision, it is very clear that the court, like the Bar Examination Committee, believes that MCQ style is very effective in assessing the barrister’s knowledge of the law provisions and all its components (e.g. meaning, importance, rationale, and the likes).

The MCQ exams, as the high court said, should be able to assess three main skills of the examinees: knowledge and recall; comprehension or understanding; and analysis and application.  Furthermore, the MCQ exams will have the following advantages: objective correction of the papers since every question has one definite answer; encouragement of the mastery of subject because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a correct and a nearly correct answer; and the employment of a wider scope of topics since the examiner can ask as many as 100 questions in an hour and a half exam, among others.[14]

As for the examiners, the time spent in preparing the MCQs will be more than compensated by the time saved in correcting the examination papers.

 “5. Part of the bar examinations shall be of the essay-type, dedicated to measuring the candidate’s skills in writing in English, sorting out the relevant facts in a legal dispute, identifying the issue or issues involved, organizing his thoughts, constructing his arguments, and persuading his readers to his point of view. The essays will not be bar subject specific.

 5.1. One such essay examination shall require the candidate to prepare a trial memorandum or a decision based on a documented legal dispute. (60% of essays)

 5.2 Another essay shall require him to prepare a written opinion sought by a client concerning a potential legal dispute facing him. (40% of essays)

 6. The essays shall not be graded for technically right or wrong answers, but for the quality of the candidate’s legal advocacy. The passing standard for correction shall be work expected of a beginning practitioner, not a seasoned lawyer.”[15]

On the otherhand, the provisions above clearly imply that the court, even after considering the use of MCQ style in the majority of its examination, still values the traditional essay type:  not in assessing the barrister’s knowledge of the law, but rather in rating his level of logic and his ability to organize his thoughts and/or compose his arguments.

While the court did an excellent work in formulating the reform and passing it thereafter, the same question still lingers in the air:  the question on whether or not this hybrid MCQ-Essay format will actually serve a better function in assessing the barristers as compared to the essay format alone.  Will this really select the “best out of the best” and produce better lawyers in general?


Everyone will agree with the fact that any barrister or lawyer must be good on these two aspects:  (1) the knowledge of the law itself, its components, scope, reason, importance, and application; and (2) his logic or his ability to visualize, vocalize, and defend his arguments.

Considering the first aspect herein mentioned, a barrister’s knowledge of the laws and statutes can be judged from either the extent of what was memorized in the codal provisions, or what was understood after reading it.  While possessing those two is great, the abundance of many laws makes it impossible for a single person to memorize and understand everything.  Sooner or later, he will have to choose between the two.

This is exactly where prioritization comes in and becomes useful.  If a barrister understands the whole law but fails to state it verbatim as seen from the code, his statement, even though correctly stated, is considered less credible in general when compared to another barrister who knows the law word-per-word.  More often than not, the latter does not even need to explain his understanding of the law as saying it verbatim leaves the listener to figure out its meaning by himself.  To sum it all up, memorization before comprehension has a greater weight in proving the extent of your knowledge about the law.

Applying the statement above to the whole topic, strict MCQ style is definitely a more effective way in determining the barrister’s knowledge of the law as this style usually leans on the provisions as seen from the code (verbatim, in short) as opposed to essay style wherein the barrister can just explain the answer in his own words.  In fact, if an examinee knows it verbatim, chances are, he will be able to answer multiple-choice questions correctly with greater accuracy, as opposed to the essay questions wherein he can explain it freely by heart without the need of memorizing the provisions. 

However, that statement above lies on the knowledge of the codal provisions alone.  As for the second aspect herein mentioned, the essay type is still the greatest way to measure the candidate’s communication skills (written), his level of logic, and his capability to sort through facts and organize his answers.  Giving the barrister a piece of paper for him to write down his thoughts on liberally gives him the chance to present and defend his arguments freely, and allows him to persuade his readers to his point of view.  Certainly, that is something that cannot be done thru MCQ style.


In light of the foregoing rationales:

MCQ style is just as effective as the Essay type in assessing a barrister’s eligibility to become a lawyer.  They both have their own pros and cons, but having only one of the two is certainly not enough to efficiently rate if a barrister possesses the two qualities that a lawyer must have.

However, a mixture of both is generally a better way to assess a barrister’s eligibility to become a lawyer:  wherein the MCQ style is used to test his knowledge of the laws, and essay-type questions are used to rate his logic and ability to present or defend his argument.

Of course there will always be loopholes for all types of questionnaires (like the fact that the MCQ answers can be guessed), but that is totally inevitable and possible to be tolerated.  What should apply here is the basic human approach that “we make do with what we have”; that the involvement of the two varying styles and their significance in achieving the whole purpose of the examination should still prevail, just like in the case of Floresca v. Philex Mining Corporation wherein it was stated that “the mind of the legislator, like all human beings, is finite and therefore cannot envisage all possible cases to which the law may apply.  Nor has the human mind the infinite capacity to anticipate all situations.”[16]

Needless to say, the bar examination merely rates the eligibility of a barrister to become a lawyer.  It must not be used to measure the competency of him as a lawyer.  Considering the fact that the 2011 hybrid MCQ-Essay bar examination went peacefully and has produced a considerable number of passers, having the same format in the future years certainly will not harm the clean process of selecting the servants of justice for the country.

[5] CONSTITUTION, (1987), Art. VIII, Sec. 5, par. (5).

[8] Bar Matters No. 2265 (January 18, 2011).

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[12] Bar Matters No. 2265 (January 18, 2011).

[13] Id.

[15] Bar Matters No. 2265 (January 18, 2011).

[16] Floresca vs. Philex Mining Corporation, 136 SCRA 141 (1985).