Friday, April 21, 2017

SC orders LEB to respond to plea vs PhilSAT implementation

BAGUIO CITY, April 19 (PNA) -- The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Legal Education Board (LEB) to answer the petition filed by a retired Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge seeking a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the Republic Act 7662 or the Legal Education Reform Act which requires aspiring lawyers to take up the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT).

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the magistrates made the decision to order the LEB through its chairman Emerson Aquende and LEB member and former Court Administrator Zenaida ElepaƱo to answer the plea of retired Makati City court judge Oscar Pimentel during their summer en banc session in Baguio City Tuesday.

Pimentel is currently a member of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law and a lecturer in the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.

”The Court directed respondents to comment 10 days from receipt on the Petition for Prohibition with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order dated April 6, 2017,” Te told reporters.

In his plea, Pimentel challenged the constitutionality of Republic Act 7662 or the Legal Education Reform Act of 1993 and sought to restrain the implementation of LEB Memorandum Order No.7 Series of 2016 which scheduled the conduct of the PhilSAT on April 16 in several cities in the country.

LEB’s Memorandum Order No. 7 dated Dec. 29, 2016 provided for the mechanisms on the one-day aptitude test that intends to measure the academic potential of an examinee who wants to pursue law.

The first PhilSAT examination was held last April 16 in seven sites across the country: Baguio City, Metro Manila, Legazpi City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.

According to LEB’s memorandum, while school year 2017-2018 will be the pilot year for PhilSAT, law schools in the country will still be allowed to enroll students who took the exams but did not meet the passing score of 55 percent.

The LEB said schools will not be allowed to enroll students who did not take the PhilSAT and that if they failed to comply, they will be subject to possible sanctions, including the payment of fine of up to PHP10,000.

It explained however that schools can ask aspiring law students to take complementary exams such as to test the ability to write in English through an essay or conduct a panel interview if they want so as not to curtail their academic freedom.

The memorandum though said that honor graduates granted professional civil service eligibility, who are enrolling within two years from their college graduation, are exempted from taking the PhilSAT and instead will have to submit a civil service recognition to the LEB. (PNA) CLTC