SC directs NTC, Congress to answer ABS-CBN vs closure order

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020   •   728

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Congress to comment on the petition filed by the ABS-CBN Corporation, challenging the cease and desist order that forced the network to go off the air earlier this May.

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the magistrates gave the NTC 10 days from receipt of the notice to respond to the petition.

The NTC was named as the only respondent to ABS-CBN’s petition but the SC said it separately impleaded the Senate and the House of Representatives as parties to the case and required them to comment on the petition, stated the press briefer posted by the SC on its Twitter account.

The High Court also gave the NTC five days to reply to the comments to be filed by the Senate and the House.

The SC PIO said these actions were unanimously approved by the 14 SC Justices during an En Banc session on Tuesday.

The SC did not issue a temporary restraining order, as requested by the ABS-CBN in its petition, against the implementation of NTC’s closure order which it claims was issued without notice and hearing.

The NTC issued a shutdown order against ABS-CBN after its franchise expired on May 4.

In its petition, the media company argued that the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

It also asked the SC to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order which directed the network to stop the broadcast operations of its television and radio stations on May 5.

The SC PIO also confirmed that the High Court denied the motion of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon to consolidate his petition – which sought for the NTC to be prevented from issuing a provisional authority to ABS-CBN – with the plea of the network.

SC moves bar exams to January, February 2022

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 28) announced that it will reschedule the bar examinations.

Bar Chairman Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, in a bulletin said that the SC will be resetting the bar examinations to January 16, 23, 30, and February 6, 2022. The previous schedule was set for November 2021.

The SC said that the rescheduling was due to the country’s pandemic situation and advice of various experts.

Activities, including selection of the applicants and downloading the secure exam delivery program, will continue however, application period will not reopen.

“Treat this as an opportunity. Keep your momentum. Remember that you study not only to pass the Bar, but also so that you will best serve others,” Leonen said. AAC

NCR courts ordered physically closed until September 30

Marje Pelayo   •   September 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered all courts in the National Capital Region (NCR) closed due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the region.

In a circular issued and signed by Court Administrator Midas Marquez, the temporary closure of all NCR courts is also in consideration of the pilot-testing of granular lockdowns after placing all cities in the region, except Manila, under Alert Level 4.

“All courts in NCR, except the Supreme Court, shall remain physically closed to court users until 30 September 2021 notwithstanding the NCR will be under general community quarantine beginning 8 September 2021,” the circular read.

However, the courts in the NCR will continue operating online, the circular said.

This means hearings on pending cases and all other matters may be addressed through videoconferencing so as not to delay the trial of cases and court processes.

Meanwhile, Marquez said the time of filing and service of pleadings and motions during the period of physical closure remains suspended and shall only resume after seven days counted from the first day of reopening of the relevant court.

For inquiries and other matters, all NCR courts may be reached through their respective hotlines and email addresses posted on SC’s official website.

Supreme Court to forgo traditional announcement of top 10 Bar passers

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will depart from its tradition of announcing the names of top 10 passers in the 2020-2021 Bar examinations, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said Friday.

Leonen, who chairs the 2020-2021 Bar exams committee, said that instead of announcing the top-notchers, an examinee who obtains an 85 percent or higher weighted score for the upcoming examination shall be recognized for exemplary performance.

In the latest Bar bulletin, the Supreme Court said that the modification of the grading system was one of the reforms proposed by Leonen “to enable a more reasonable approach to appraising and reporting on Bar examination performance.”

It has been a tradition of the high court to name the top notchers simultaneous with the release of successful Bar passers, but with the pandemic, Leonen said they have taken into consideration the circumstances of the two batches that will be taking the exams this November.

“On one hand, those who intended to take the Bar Examinations in 2020 either had more time to review, or endured more time for waiting. The 2021 graduates, on the other hand, had to endure the longer ordeal of preparing to graduate during the pandemic, causing delays in the graduation dates. They have been put in a constrained environment, with only a brief window of time to prepare,” Leonen said.

“Testing two batches of examinees that prepared under different circumstances – not to mention the vast number of combined examinees, placing an enormous demand on the examiners – compels the adoption of unique mechanisms that aim to balance these inequities,” he added.

Leonen also noted that the modifications introduced aim to be “more inclusive” by not limiting recognition to an exclusive circle of top-notchers, adding that “limiting the recognition to a circle of 10 risks being beholden to statistical minutiae.”

He also emphasized that the Bar exams aim to determine whether an individual has the knowledge to be a lawyer.

“The Bar examinations measure individual knowledge. It is no race or competition. Neither will it predict who among the examinees will become the best qualified within their batch, the better lawyer, the more relevant practitioner, or the more compassionate individual,” he said.

“In short, good lawyering requires skill and a view to making choices that match the nobility of the profession and its desire for social justice. This is not entirely measured by the Bar examinations,” he added.

The SC postponed the 2020 Bar examinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The upcoming exams will be held in several testing centers across the country in November.

“It is hoped that by shifting the focus away from how to select individuals who excel and onto a school’s collective performance, this will encourage deep-seated and wide-ranging improvements in legal education. Law schools would inspire and aspire for excellence that would uplift their entire studentry, rather than select Bar bets only,” Leonen said

Under the modified grading system, an examinee who obtains a total weighted score of 85 percent or higher for the 2020-2021 Bar Examinations shall be recognized for exemplary performance.

“The names of examinees who earned recognition for exemplary performance shall be made publicly available simultaneously with the list of passers, through the same media. Apart from this, no fanfare shall be devoted in releasing information on examinees who rendered exemplary performance,” Leonen said.

“The names in this list shall be arranged alphabetically, and shall also appear in the list of passers. This list shall replace the traditional Top 10,” he added.

The SC said a report on law schools’ performance will also be released. Law schools having examinees who were recognized for exemplary performance shall also be identified in a separate report.

Statistics on the performance of those who did not pass or did not finish past Bar exams will not be made public, but will be given to the law schools themselves, it added.

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