Supreme Court to take up ABS-CBN plea vs NTC order on July 13

Robie de Guzman   •   June 11, 2020   •   1336

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will tackle next month the petition of ABS-CBN Corporation against the cease and desist order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which halted the network’s broadcast operations last May 5.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said they will discuss the ABS-CBN’s petition on July 13.

Peralta said the high court had to wait for comments from all parties mentioned in the petition before conducting deliberations on the plea.

“We waited for the comments of the House of Representatives, the lower house and the upper house and I think we only received the comments last Friday or last Monday,” he said during an online press conference on Thursday.

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5, just hours after the NTC issued its order directing the media network to halt its television and radio broadcast operations due to expired franchise. The company’s franchise ended on May 4.

The media giant then filed a petition, urging the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the NTC’s closure order.

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.

ABS-CBN also pointed out the loss of revenues on the part of the company and the government in terms of taxes, as well as the welfare of its 11,000 employees due to the stoppage of its operations.

Supreme Court moves Bar exams to February

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday announced that the Bar examinations have been rescheduled to February 4 (Friday) and February 6 (Sunday).

The SC said this is in consideration for those who may not be able to push through with the exams due to the current COVID-19 situation.

The Bar exams were originally scheduled for January 23 to 25, 2022.

In a Bar bulletin, the SC said a total of 8,546 Bar examinees have reported that some of them have tested positive for COVID-19, living with COVID patients, or under quarantine due to direct contact.

The high court also said that 16 of the 31 teams that will be deployed will be “critically understaffed” if the current schedule were maintained.

“Considering these numbers, as well as the projections of the Court’s expert consultants on the progress of this current COVID-19 surge, the Supreme Court En Banc has unanimously decided that the Bar examinations be rescheduled to February 4, 2022, Friday; and February 6, 2022, Sunday,” the SC said.

Bar exams chairperson, SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, has urged Bar examinees to strictly undergo quarantine by January 20.

Bar takers who have concerns that are not within the competence of the SC’s help desks are advised to contact the SC via BarChairLeonen@gmail.com.

“Be patient. Take a few days off to regain your composure and then continue with your preparations. Soon, those who have the determination, tenacity, and resilience to overcome these challenges will become great lawyers who will serve our people well,” he said.

Leonen also expressed gratitude to local government units as well as schools that will host the command center and serve as local testing centers.

Work suspension in Supreme Court offices extended until January 8

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has announced that work in its offices will remain suspended until January 8, amid rising cases of COVID-9 among its personnel.

In Memorandum Order 3-2022 released on Wednesday, the SC said this is to pave the way for massive antigen testing of its personnel and allow further contact tracing on other employees who had close contacts with those infected with COVID-19.

Citing the report from the Medical and Dental Services, the SC said that the administration of antigen testing on all court personnel, as well as employees of service providers, has not yet been completed and that there is a high positivity rate among those already tested.

Personnel of the Office of the Bar Chair and Office of the Bar Confidant who are involved in the 2020/2021 bar examinations, Office of the Administrative Services-SC, MDS, and Receiving Section of the Judicial Records Office who are involved in e-filing, are still required to report on-site, the court said.

The court said it will deploy buses to ferry said personnel.

In a separate memorandum, the SC Office of the Court Administrator also announced a two-day work suspension from January 6 to January 7 in all the first and second level courts in the National Capital Region due to the increasing number of judges and court personnel contracting the virus.

The work suspension will allow the further disinfection of court premises and conduct of contact tracing and testing among the court personnel.

Due to the work suspension, the period of filing of all pleadings and other court submissions that would fall on the said days will also be extended.

Supreme Court reduces coverage, duration of Bar exams

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday announced it has reduced the coverage and the duration of the Bar Examination in view of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and effects of the Typhoon Odette.

In a statement, the SC said that, upon the recommendation of the Bar Chairperson, has resolved to reduce the coverage and shorten the duration of the 2020/21 Bar Examinations pro hac vice.

“The Court noted that the bar examinees for this coming bar has reviewed for longer than all the other batches taking the bar exams under very difficult conditions,” it said.

Per the Court En Banc’s January 4, 2022 Resolution, the examinations with the revised coverage will be held on January 23, 2022, Sunday; and on January 25, 2022, Tuesday, the high court said.

The Bar exams was supposed to be held for four Sundays starting January 16.

The SC said examinees will take four sets of examinations, encompassing the usual eight subjects: (1) The Law Pertaining to the State and Its Relationship with Its Citizens (formerly Political Law, Labor Law, and Taxation Law); (2) Criminal Law; (3) The Law Pertaining to Private Personal and Commercial Relations (formerly Civil Law and Commercial Law); and (4) Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics, and Practical Exercises).

“The Bar Chairperson will release Bar Bulletin No. 31, s. 2022 which provides the revised coverage for each examination,” the SC said.

“All examinees are strongly advised to self-quarantine starting January 9, 2022, or at least two weeks before the Bar Examinations,” it added.

The Supreme Court said these changes pro hac vice seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the country.

It also noted that the Philippines has produced no new lawyers since the pandemic started in March 2020.

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