1st Sunday of the 2007 Bar Exams

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Political and Public International Law

Most of the Political Law questions were not crafted “fairly.” Yes, some even say the questions were just crazy. I share the same sentiment.

There were 10 items contained in 8 pages (inclusive of the first page where the instructions are contained). The 10 items have 10 points each. Each item is subdivided into 2-3 questions. Items 1 and 6 are True or False type where you will have to briefly explain your true or false answer.

Notably, there were no questions in Election Law.

The following are a few of the “crazy” questions, or so we say: (The questions are framed as far as my memory is concerned)

ON THE TRUE OR FALSE QUESTIONS

1) Filipino and English are the Official Languages, unless otherwise provided by law. True or False. MY ANSWER: True. Reason – well it’s true what else could I say?

2) Amendment to the Constitution is valid if with a 3/4 votes of the Congress. True or False. MY ANSWER: False. There must be a plebiscite so that the Amendment may be made to the Constitution. 3/4 votes is not enough.

3) The 1987 Constitution increased the scope of academic freedom compared to the previous Constitution. MY ANSWER: False. The Freedom Constitution does not have any Bill of Rights. Thus, the 1987 Constitution cannot be said to have increased the scope of academic freedom. However, if the previous Constitution being referred to is the 1973 Constitution, then it may be said that the 1987 Constitution has increased the scope thereof.

4) All public officers and employees are required to take an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. MY ANSWER: False. Not all. Only those specifically mandated to take the oath are required such as the President, members of th Congress.. etc… among others. (Please see comments below.)

ON THE PROBLEM-TYPE QUESTIONS

1) Did the Philippines breach any obligation under international law when a City Mayor issued an Executive Order banning the city hospital from prescribing the use of contraceptives, condoms, etc..? MY ANSWER: NO. Reason – I mean how can this be possible??? An act of a mayor causing the entire Philippines to breach an international law obligation??? Come on! Of course I said.. “unless the Phil. government has failed to abate the execution of the unconstitutional executive order of the mayor.”

2) Should a GOCC comply with the prodding of an NGO? MY ANSWER: NO. Hahaha! Who’s your daddy? Why should a GOCC “comply” with what an NGO wants? There can be no compulsion in the legal sense. I don’t even know many of my legal bases for answering questions.

3) The DepEd requires all schools raising their tuition fees to sponsor scholarships for students of low-income families enrolled in their schools. The school contests that the scholarships to be given will cost them Php1.5M. Is this valid? MY ANSWER: NOT VALID. This is taking without just compensation.

Follow up question: What if, instead, the scholarships will be given to those students with the highest grades and rank. Will your answer be the same? MY ANSWER: YES. There is still taking without just compensation, worse this DepEd regulation is now bereft of public purpose.

So far that’s far as what I can still remember and regard as “crazy” questions in Political Law.

And yes there were some common questions (for chrissake!) one of them was “can the Commission on Human Rights issue an order to stop … ” and the obvious answer is that the CHR cannot because it has no TRO powers.

Labor and Social Legislation

Turning now to Labor.. I can say Labor has been a fair exam. Although many of the questions were very basic – e.g. what is the age of retirement for underground miners? Uhmm… well? Haha! I have the number 50 at the back of my mind, but, I was not quite sure about it… so… I simply said “underground miners retire earlier than non-underground workers,” I mean below 60 ๐Ÿ˜€ and it was worth 2.5 points.

The first thing to kill the barristers during the Labor exam was the very first question: “What is the principle of codetermination?” And were it not for the subquestion: “What is its Constitutional basis?“, baka nangamote na talaga ako first question pa lang. So what did I answer? Alright, I said something to this effect: Codetermination – that in determining rules and regulations affecting the rights of labor, the labor (sector) must be given due representation. Constitutional basis – shared responsibility under Art. XIII. Whew… what a bluff. hehe

There were a number of classic questions such as: Effects of illegal strike on the employment of union officers and rank-and-file members; and Casual vs. Regular employment; Globe doctrine and Community of interest; and Househelper vs. non-household work.

OBSERVATIONS:

About the pre-week materials/reviewers? I can say it was San Beda’s Red Notes in Labor that got the most of the questions and answers in Labor. But in Poli …. wala talaga. Not even a question about the UN, ICJ or ICC. There was no single pre-week material which became useful during the actual Political Law exam.

Fault. I hope the examiner wouldn’t mind my crossing out the whole page 4 containing my answer to a very ambiguous problem given in Item No. 3 – the extradition thing – which I applied the principle of double criminality. Whew.

We are on to the 2nd Sunday.

St. Jude, pray for us.

graphics by: atanbz at deviantart.com

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